Food Tip 9

I’m all about having food on hand. I don’t like frequent store trips or surprises. I’m also big into getting as natural of food as is reasonable.

So, today’s food tip is:

Grow your own food.

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If you don’t know this by now, I draw my lines at convenience and comfort. Although all-natural and organic are great ideas, the most organic I go is our backyard garden. Even then, I totally called in our pest guy at The Battle of the Squash Bugs (that epic tale will need to wait till another post).

I also think saving money is important. But when the cost of garden boxes, soil, plants, and special vegetable wash exceed the cost of tomatoes at Sprout’s; I’m not going to waste the effort.

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So, start small. Plant one thing that you’ll use in a small bit of land or a pot. Add a watering system the next year. Over the next while; purchase and implement garden boxes, special mix-ins, and more interesting plants.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll even start saving seeds for next season’s plantings.

Garden fresh tastes better and is healthier. It’s also fun for kids, especially if they have one plant that is all their own.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Books Around the House

I remember the positive furor Dr. Ben Carson caused when he told the world about his mother. Seeing that rich people had books in the houses she cleaned for money, she came home and told her boys the TV was going off and books were coming in. Dr. Carson has since advocated and promoted literacy and reading in his political platforms.

Which is just great, when applied appropriately.

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After Tad R. Callister quoted Dr. Carson’s story in an LDS talk, I heard mother after teacher after grandmother talking about how they were going to purchase more books for their shelves. Surely the presence of reading materials would encourage children and grandchildren to pick them up. Surely their offspring would grow to be neurosurgeons and members of the presidential cabinet.

Right?

I happen to be “a reader.” My children are as well. Their teachers and administrators have commented on that quality. One administrator even said, “Your boys read. You can’t teach that.”

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Which is my main point, today. Having books on the shelves does nothing if you don’t pull them down. With every. single. one of my children, I have demonstrated what books do; what they contain. I’ve read to them. Sure, I’m not consistent. Each boy has had even less time with me than the one before.

But I try. Reading Ramona the Pest once a week(ish) is still better than my five-year-old thinking that staring at a phone at night is the only form of entertainment around.

Showing them that I read on my own has demonstrated that adults read, too. It’s the cool thing to do! I share things with them and discuss ideas or characters from the stories. I attend book group and have brought the older ones along.

Dr. Carson said his mother insisted they do two book reports a week. I’ve had mine do a report occasionally, but not often. Books need to be fun and not a chore.

So, moms and instructors and grandmas: pay attention. If you actually want a neurosurgeon, you’d better start practicing your own literacy. At least start practicing funny voices for the characters.

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Photo Credit:
Robyn Budlender
Ben White
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Food Tip 7

Today on Surviving on Little Income Because All the Kids Need Dental Work Except One and the Water Heater Went Out and We Had to Replace It…

My super thrifty food tip involving concentrated orange juice.

Water juice down a bit.

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When we’re living the high life right after tax returns; I purchase all natural, fresh-squeezed orange juice like a millionaire. At other times, concentrated juice or even Kool-Aid are our go-to.

You can stretch your buck juuuuuust a bit further if you add a bit more water than it says to. How much so depends on your ability to withstand what you mix.

Of course, you can always go cheaper and add food coloring to water. I’m sure they’ll never know the difference.

Manic Kids? Try Snacks!

Back when I gave some parenting advice, I mentioned food as a good solution for wild times. I like food; turns out that most people do as well. In fact, you might say we couldn’t live without the stuff.

And water.

So, my parenting tip for this Friday is:

Have snacks on hand. Like, all the time.

I know that not all snack foods are created equal. I know that not any snack foods are healthy, really. Seriously; think about it. When it’s between meals and you’re at the grocery store and still have two more errands, however, who cares about the exact nutritional value of that Chex Mix?

Certainly not the other people in line, I tell ya what.

So; whether at home or abroad, feed your kids a snack in that space between meals. Don’t go overboard, of course. The individual bags of Nilla Wafers and little squeeze bottles of applesauce are super expensive.

And to answer the ‘not healthy’ problem, throw in some chopped apples or carrot sticks. Eat nuts (unless you’re allergic). Drink milk. Try a cheese stick. Add some homemade bread that you baked lovingly with your child after cleaning the entire house and singing, “A Spoonful of Sugar.”

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Just get those grumpies some food.

 

Photo Credits:
Charles 🇵🇭
Juliet Furst

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Everyone Needs to Get Messy, Especially Kids

My kids love to make messes. They’re not as enthusiastic about cleanup. At my most stressful, I tend to stand in the midst of their disaster area and say, “Well, don’t want to clean it up either! What if I decided to stop shopping for food and making dinner and cleaning your clothes??”

But those are not the sort of messes I wish to talk about today. Instead, I want to talk real messes, messes like: mud, water, dirt, homemade slime, and toasted marshmallows.

My 8-year-old came home from his Cub Scout Day Camp this week, his first time going. Covered head to toe in dirt and holding what he’d purchased at their little store, he glowed. They’d spent all day doing fun activities. They watched skits, shot a B.B. gun, and crafted. He had so. much. fun!

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Nothing warms my heart more than seeing deep, satisfied happiness on my kids’ faces. I see it when they are proud of something they worked on. There’s a flash of it when I laugh at a joke they told. There’s an almost tangible feeling of it when they’re arm-deep in sand at the beach, making castles or forts or whatnot.

We parents tend to think that fun has to be expensive. We buy gaming systems or children’s museum passes. We plan expensive vacations. We fork over cash for opening night at the movies and their overpriced concessions. We pay to attend the trampoline park, amusement park, waterslide park, or fun center park.

Why not just go to a park park?

Even if you’re not near a park or a backyard, you can still look up homemade crafts for home. I know slime’s extremely popular. Or Play-Doh. Or -even better- cookie dough.

Hands-on, tactile activities are more important for brain development than ‘strategy’ in a computer game. Interactions with physical materials help ground children (and adults) in reality. And, as I mentioned earlier, creating something with your own hands brings a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Besides, who doesn’t like to get messy?

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Here’s what I wrote this past week:

Sunday, July 14: Advised everyone to go jump in a sprinkler in “When the Summer Gets Hot, Get Sprinklers.

Monday, July 15: “Bedtime Routine Haiku.” If only they’d stay in bed.

Tuesday, July 16: Shared a quote by Ewan McGregor.

Wednesday, July 17: Recommended hitting after-holiday sales with “Shopping Tip 1.”

Thursday, July 18: “Guess I’ll Keep Him” -a snippet about my second son.

Friday, July 19: When life gets overrun with weeds, “Stop and Smell the Bindweed.”

Saturday, July 20: Shared Batman’s Mom‘s tweet about her snarky son.

Sunday, July 21: That’s today!

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens