Saturday, January 1, 2011

Days of Play--Snow Scream

Happy 2011 to you.  And if you are a number person, happy 1/1/11!

I'm a dreary weather person who likes the cold too.

None of this explains why I'm gearing up to head to Cozumel on Monday (except that I also LOVE to scuba dive and you can't do that in WY).

We've had unseasonably warm weather in WY this year so snow has been hard to come by.  Lucky me, though, we just had some serious winter weather.

To celebrate the onslaught of flakes, I put a big clean bowl on the deck.

Why?

To make Snow-Scream!

What?

Ice cream made out of snow.  Basically this give adults an excuse to eat snow.

If you have snow, I encourage you to make snow-scream today.

Okay, okay--it's NOT as good as the stuff with cream and sugar but it's fun (dare I say magical) to make and I think since it's made of snow you could count it as an organic health food {wink}

What you'll need:

1 BIG bowl of snow (it compacts so you need a lot of snow--a gallon is about right).
1 cup of white sugar
1-2 cups of milk
vanilla or chocolate powder (to desired taste).

What to do:
  1. Get a bowl full of snow and stir in the sugar.
  2. Add in milk (any percent but the thicker--2%, whole, whipping cream--the creamier the taste) until the ice cream is the right consistency. (We like ours more like soft-serve than slushy).
  3. Add in flavoring.  We've done chocolate powder or vanilla but you could experiment with cherry or peppermint flavoring.
  4. Put in a bowl.
  5. Eat with your mittens on.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Fashion Friday--New Year's Eve Guide

Do you have New Year's Eve plans?

Do you know what you are wearing for those plans?

Whether you are going out or staying in, this is a great occasion to shop your closet!

Here are three formulas that will cover your New Year's Eve plans.

Staying home or going to a causal get together?  Try this sweater and jeans formula.

One sweater + one BOLD necklace + skinny jeans/cords + boots + bag= ready to go (or stay--your call).

Maybe you're heading to a party that calls for a edgy-prepster look.

Embellished top + vest/blazer + necklace + skinny pants + heels=ready to party--like a sophisticate

Perhaps yours is the sort of affair that necessitates your little black dress.

LBD + notice-me-necklace/bracelet + pop of color heels + clutch + outerwear = On your way!


Of course you could opt for PJs! 

Remember that I'm showing you clothing options NOT so you go buy, but so you go LOOK in your closet. I'm guessing you have a sweater or tank or heels that would be perfect. Go. Play. Enjoy.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Things I Love--Reminicing

Every now and then Matt gets pretty reminiscent about life, especially when it comes to time with our kids.

One day not so long ago he was listening to OURS by The Bravery and it got him thinking about the time that is ours ... and how quickly it passes.

So he created this slide show documenting our family in the year of 2010.

Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What I Think About: Reward Systems

Have you ever asked a child to do something (clean her room, pick up his toys, put a plate in the dishwasher) and the child responds with "What will you give me for doing it?"

Have you have a conversation about "these kids today" and how "ungrateful and unmotivated" they are?

Have you ever wondered where these kids learned it?

{GULP}

Photo Source

Reward systems are pretty widely used by parents and educators alike.

I see it in classrooms all the time.  Well intentioned teachers use a token of some sort to bribe  manipulate encourage kids into good behavior.  If everyone does well, you get a pizza party. If you turn in your homework you get a star.  If you get three stars, you can buy a pencil.

Educators do this because of "real world" applications.  When I perform at work, I get paid.

The problem is that most reward systems work for kids who wouldn't need the system in the first place.

The "good" kids rack up points/stars/tickets/smiley faces and are able to "buy" pencils, sleepovers, and IPods.

Meanwhile, the "bad" kids lose their tickets/points/stars/smiley faces and as a result, feel angry, hurt, humiliated, and hopeless. And if they are in the hole, why not act out more since there's nothing to lose?

And this happens in the real world too.

The "good" hard workers get the "good" jobs with good pay.  The "bad" workers don't. (Of course we won't let discussion about systemic injustices in poverty, education, etc., play into these conversations ...)

As a parent and an educator I have used reward systems sparingly, a few times.  Mainly I used them for a brief period to encourage specific behavior.  In the classroom, I used rewards to get through the last two weeks of school (because kids check out and "stop" school mentally by then).  In my home, I used a reward system during potty training.

And that is it.

Why?

I do not want children, mine or anyone else's, to blindly "behave" in order to get or not get something (because I feel the same way about demerit systems as I do reward systems).

I don't want kids to clean their desks/lockers/rooms because they are going to get a pencil; I want them to do it because they were asked to do it--because it's the "right" thing to do.

Obedience is a high expectation and I think too often we sell our kids short by assuming they HAVE to have some sort of immediate, tangible reward in order to do what is right.

What I fear is that kids become so accustomed to getting something in return for good behavior that they stop doing things because it's the "right thing to do" and do it because they'll get something in return.

And then adults complain about a generation of entitled brats.

It is an inconvenient truth that reward systems have been the subject of much research and such research demonstrates that though reward systems can be temporarily effective, in the long run, such systems result in lowered intrinsic motivation (I'll plug one of my favorite books here: Punished by rewards: The trouble with gold stars, incentive plans, A's, praise, and other bribes. by Alfie Kohn).
A lot of people have had the experience of having done something and they loved it—until they started to get paid for doing it, after which they wouldn't dream of doing it again without getting paid. The phenomenon whereby extrinsic motivators cause intrinsic motivation to evaporate is not on the tips of our tongues, but it's not that far from consciousness, either. (click here to read this interview)
You won't see charts or graphs at my house.  You won't hear me bribing M.E. to clean her room with promises of a toy from the dollar store. You will hear expectations for her being spoken loudly and clearly. And you'll see me model it.

I want my children to understand that, socially, there are acceptable and unacceptable behaviors and actions.  I want them to learn to do what is right for right's sake.  Not because I gave them a gold sticker.

Reward systems?  Not at my house.
Photo Source

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Monday Tune to Get Stuck in Your Head

A lot of people get post-Christmas blues.

If that's you then this song if for you.

It totally crack me up!

It gets "awesomer" with every viewing :)