Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sewing Machine Getaway not Giveaway

In May, of this year, I bought a sewing machine using the money I earned doing a project. My projects for a little bit of play money include graphic design jobs here and there and back-up childcare. I spent about $90 on a sewing machine from Target. Of course there are many brands that are good but when I think about sewing nothing stitches like a Singer. I guess it’s just great marketing. Due to my lack of skills and the fact that I haven’t used a sewing machine in about 20 years I felt comfortable purchasing the Singer Promise 1409.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Motivated by His Promises

Looking back at my life, my walk as a Christian was superficial. I would only pray in extreme hardships. When I think about it I wouldn’t want to have a “friend” that would call me only when they were in trouble. I didn’t have a real relationship with God. I had this worldview of God where I thought he was a higher being in the clouds sitting on a bejeweled thrown surrounded by awesome bright light waiting to condemn my every sin. GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY, resonated in my mind. I felt unmotivated as a Christian. It was hard for me to read the bible and hard for me to have a regular prayer life. I found it difficult for me to be disciplined and make lasting life changes. I always would hear people in church talk about purpose this and finding purpose. Yet I found myself living day-to-day just to survive and not really living with a purpose even while married with kids. My purposes were to reach my own personal goals, to look good in front of others no matter what the cost was. I didn’t know my true purpose in life. If my circumstances didn’t feel right to me then the whole situation must be wrong and I had to fix it so I could be comfortable again.

Friday, October 26, 2012

9 Inexpensive Ways to Spend Time with Your Family

1. Movie night at home
If the movie is old or new our kids love movie night and popcorn on Friday night as long as we watch the movie with them.

2. Visit a local farm
The kids enjoy visiting the local farm.

3. Yard makeover
This past summer we gave our flowerbed a makeover. The kids enjoyed helping with yard waste removal and watering the new plants.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Home Management Timesaver Tips

Dish washers, washers and dryers, vacuums, and cell phones should make our lives easier. Have you ever felt like you still don’t have enough time? I found this article at Baby Center and implemented some of the suggestions from other mothers that would work for our family.

When I resigned from working full-time I knew that I would be the type of person that would get so comfortable with being at home, I wouldn’t get anything done. For about six months that did happen. It’s nice to go to a parent’s group and receive encouragement and an idea of what should happen at home during the day. I also found some great resources on home management on the internet. Whether you work at home or outside of the home many of these suggestions can help manage family time more effectively.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sub – Urban Momma Autumn Farm Blunders

I live about 15 minutes away from a farm and I love fruits and vegetables from the farm. I always buy kale from the grocery store. Joshua, aka veggie boy, and I love raw kale salad. At the grocery store when I buy organic kale it’s expensive. ½ lb. costs $2.50 at the grocery store.

This trip to the farm was my first time ever purchasing kale. At the farm I purchased 2 lbs. Honestly, I am not so sure how many lbs. it is, they fill up a plastic grocery bag with hand-picked kale for $3.50. It didn’t look pretty like the kale you buy in the grocery store. Again, this was my first time purchasing fresh picked kale from a farm. I didn’t know I was taking home visitors from the farm. The attendant gave us some dry corn on the cob too. It’s supposed to be popcorn. I was told to put the corn on the cob in a paper bag, fold the top to close (paper bag), and pop it in the microwave.

I mused about visiting my grandmothers’ as I grabbed the largest pot I have. At my maternal grandmother’s home in NW, Washington, D.C. she’d grow kale in her small row-house backyard. Sometimes when we arrived she would have kale soaking in the sink. My paternal great-grandmother would have kale soaking in the kitchen sink too, my mother, likewise. I never knew why they soaked kale and never asked why. When I purchase kale from the grocery store I don’t soak the kale at all. I rinse each leaf thoroughly and cook them or make a salad.

I tried my own technique of rinsing each leaf thoroughly. As I put the kale in a large pot I saw something move. I thought maybe it was a draft in the kitchen even though the fan was turned off and no windows were open. I looked closely at a kale leaf and saw a green worm. I thought about how many more green worms could be hiding in the kale. I immediately began to investigate the rest of the kale I washed and saw that there were tiny bugs and bug pooh on some of the kale leaves. Cleaning this kale was going to take more work than just a thorough rinse.

Green worm blends in with the kale nicely

I went to use my interactive encyclopedia, the internet. I did an Internet search on “how do I get bugs off my kale?” I found that if I added a little salt to the soaking water it would help kill the bugs and clean the kale. To a large pot of water I added a teaspoon of kosher salt and swished it around in the cold water (kosher salt b/c that’s what I have on hand at the house and use to cook with). When I put the kale in the pot of salt water to soak I noticed the kale kept floating to the top and above the water. I put a strainer on top of the pot with the salt water and kale. I let it soak unattended for 10 minutes. I saw the tiny bugs floating to the top in the strainer. I rinsed them again after soaking them. I slightly steamed the kale before making the salad. I was still shocked about the bugs.

Oh, the dry corn on the cob that was popcorn? The attendant at the farm said to put the corn cob in a paper bag and pop it the microwave. The corn did not pop well, not well enough to eat. So with another corn cob I had my daughter remove the kernels from the cob because I thought, maybe the farm attendant gave me the wrong directions. We popped the kernels off the cob in a paper bag and this time no kernels popped. A week later we went to the farm again, because I try to get fresh fruit and vegetables every week, and the attendant gave us more popcorn. Of course my kids told the attendant how disappointed they were in their mom because, “she didn’t pop the popcorn right.”

Went home popped the popcorn according to the directions of the farm attendant, in a paper bag, folded at the top, blah, blah, blah. The popcorn still did not pop with good results. It popped, just not good enough to eat. I’ll just stick to my bag of Jolly Time popping kernels.

I think I am just writing this to let you know how clueless I am about farms and organic fruits and vegetables. I do have an interest in learning about chemicals in foods and the effects they have on our health. I am embarrassed to say that all the while I was cleaning the kale I thought, “I’ll never buy farm fresh kale again, I’ll just go to the grocery store.” But, I still go back to the farm and buy the kale because it’s cheaper and better for my health + they have the best sweet peppers and apples ever.

I know I have been so programmed to take the convenient way of living. Go to the grocery store, grab it off the shelf, and cook something with the least amount of prep time. As I think about it, sometimes, getting food that doesn't take much prep time is the worse for you.

What’s stopping you from visiting your local farm?

And since this is a family topic, take those kids to the farm, let them run run run and they will have a nice nap to give you some quiet time. Or maybe they'll go to bed earlier to give you some quiet time!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Are you getting 8?

Mac Cosmetics
As I put on my first coat of lipstick of the day, my lips would peel. How annoying. So I would have lipstick on with peeled dead skin. Yuck!

Some years ago I remember taking a trip to purchase my favorite lustreglass (fancy name for lip gloss), Ornamental, from Mac Cosmetics. I remember the day clearly. I wanted to try a new lip-liner color to compliment my gloss. Before the make-up artist applied the gloss I asked her if there was something I could purchase that would keep my lips from peeling when I put on the lustreglass.

The make-up artist had a direct stare on her face and simply said, "drink more water."

I was shocked at her response and at the time I just didn't know what else to say. I allowed her to apply the products and made my purchase. I pondered the make-up artist's response and even thought, "but I do drink a lot of water." You know the unsugar-coated truth is what you always remember right, especially when somewhere deep down you know it's the truth? Here's a great article about the benefits of drinking the proper amount of water.

Since I am now on a regular exercise plan and making an extra effort to eat healthier, one day at a time, I now monitor how much water I drink, closely. It was true, my lips were peeling because I wasn't drinking enough water. As I write, I now think about when I used to work a 9-5 and would go hours without having water because I didn't feel like getting up to get it. I remember having to rush to the hospital while pregnant because I wasn't drinking enough water and being dehydrated can cause premature labor (so I was told). Thinking of the importance of water even though I knew my body needed it; the last thing I wanted to do was keep getting up to get a cup of water and count how many cups I drank for the day. But in this fascinating world that we live in, at work, I knew someone that did count 8 cups.

A solution to the dilemma of me not wanting to go to the refrigerator every minute or count the number of cups I was drinking was to purchase a 32 oz. water bottle. I try to drink 32 ounces of water before noon and 32 ounces in the afternoon/evening and that equals 8 cups of water and I only had to fill the water bottle twice.

What are some ways that you stay hydrated throughout the day other than counting cups? Give some solutions to someone else struggling in this area.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sex Education Resource for the Family: A book review

Within 2 weeks of school starting the Gilbert home was hit with sub - urban public school drama. One week I learned my 8 year old has a girlfriend and the next week my 5 year old says no other girls want to play with her because all of the boys would like to date her. Hearing all of this I stayed calm, only by the grace of the Lord. I knew that's what it was, had to be because inside I wanted to lose it. But I knew that I didn't want to have my kids feel awkward about talking to me about their curiosity involving sex.

I know this is TMII (too much information for the internet) but I like to be real and I like wise counsel. I like to synergize, that's in the Sub - Urban Momma tagline right?

Here I go . . . when I was growing up . . . well you know; my family did not talk to me about sex education or how to make wise choices in that area. I received a talk when it was much too late. What's sad is I have spoken with other adults who have expressed the same kinds of teaching and even worse which I just can't mention on this blog. I believe that children should have sex education, age appropriate and whenever the opportunity presents itself and it's much more than don't do it [sex]. I want to start first with teaching my kids how to make wise choices in every area.

I am not an enthusiastic sex-talker

My Fears of a Sex Talk:

1. What if I fail at giving them age-appropriate information and tell them too much.

2. What if they want to have sex after we have a talk?

Being the resourceful Sub – Urban Momma that I am, I sought wise counsel from a mom with older wise kids and I headed to the local library for a resource.

Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality by Jim Burns of the HomeWord ministry, provides Christian-based resources about solving family issues.

I was attracted to Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality because it was a small book, quick read, Christian-based, and ideal for busy families. The book has 144 pages (not including last two chapters) that does not have technical words I need to research and look into, this book is straightforward, 7 chapters of reading, 2 additional chapters of resources and includes personal family examples.

The first chapter is titled Teaching Your Kids Value-Centered Sexuality which focuses on parents being involved in teaching their own children about sex as well as teaching children to have sexual integrity. Sexual integrity encompasses so much more than telling kids to wait until they are married. Sexual integrity involves creating values, not just having a one-time conversation regarding sex, and furthermore, creating a dialogue instead of a lecture with children about sexuality. Chapter 1 also serves as a reminder of what children face today that is not exhaustive. Chapter 2, Building a Foundation to Teach the Purity Code, promotes the Purity Code which is included in the HomeWord Ministry. Even if you are not interested in promoting the Purity code chapter 2 is worth reading because it has many bible scriptures regarding sexuality. The Purity Code is a pledge between your child and God that basically says you will honor God with your body, mind, eyes and heart. Chapter 3, Helping Your Kids to Set Standards encourages families to set standards before a situation arises. What I found most helpful was that it had some topics that I would not have even thought to talk about with my children, such as pornography. I feel like, you don’t want to wait until the damage is done and your kid is already addicted to pornography, though it happens. Chapter 4, How and When to Talk with Your Kids About Sex and Sexuality, gives age ranges about what kids think about during certain age groups. I am in no way recommending anyone should go by this format, it’s just a resource. I believe children should be taught according to the environment and even take into consideration what your child already knows. I believe parents must do what works best for their own family. Chapter 4 has a topic list that serves as a reminder about what parents could talk to their children about regarding sexuality. Chapter 5, Sex Outside of Marriage: Choices and Consequences, is self-explanatory, and that we should tell our children the consequences of unwise choices yet to approach this topic “full of grace” and to “tread lightly.” Chapter 6, Sexual Abuse: Prevention and Help, provides help on how to prevent sexual abuse within the confines of what a parent can do, and that is through teaching, as well as what to do if a child has been sexually abused. It has a list of symptoms of sexually abused children that are helpful. Chapter 7, Dealing with Your Own Sexuality, it may be uncomfortable to have ongoing communication with our own children regarding sex because we ourselves have not dealt with our own sexuality. Chapter 8 has some Q&A’s and chapter 9 has discussion question starters which I felt were most helpful for our family.

Wise decisions are a theme throughout this book and it’s one we try to instill in our children. I think the key to navigating through life, no matter what the topic may be, is knowing how to make wise choices (read Proverbs 2). I tell Josh and Alyssa to slow down and think about the good outcome of a situation and the bad outcome of a situation. Then to ask, would it be pleasing to God?

Are you afraid to teach your children about sex? Are your children older, do you have any regrets in the way you handled this topic that you can pass on to mothers of younger children?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

1 Day Free Admission, Museum Day Live!

One of the perks of being a Sub – Urban Momma is that I can travel to national and international cultures, free, 7 days a week, from 10 am – 5:30 pm courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.

September 29, 2012 was a national event called Museum Day Live!, hosted by the Smithsonian Magazine. Museum Day Live! gives you an opportunity to visit museums, FREE, that you would normally have to pay for. In Washington D.C. the Museums you pay for are totally privately funded museums. Two weeks ago was the first time I had ever heard of Museum Day Live! As I finished my workout and stretched, while watching local news, the advertisement for Museum Day Live! appeared. Though there is a catch to it, this day does not include all museums you have to pay for, it only includes participating museums. This is a national event so I thought I would share it. SUB-URBAN MOMMA TIP: If you haven’t already done so make a calendar or spreadsheet for your family management binder and update it with annual events for your family.

Museum Day Live! a national event
We visited the Newseum. The costs for admission for a family four pack, (two adults and two youth visitors) would have costs us $49.95 + tax. On Museum Day Live! we went free and the passes allowed us to come back the next day free.

“The Newseum — a 250,000-square-foot museum of news — features seven levels of galleries, theaters and hands-on exhibits that take museumgoers behind the scenes to experience how and why news is made.”

An e-card the kids sent to me from the Newseum