The fam. and I have made it back from our trip to North Dakota with a short side trip to the Upper Peninsula. The trip was awesome. The kids traveled well thanks to the portable DVD player and a bag full of rocks that we collected along the shores of Lake Superior (below). It's always great to see family and friends and it helps when the weather cooperates. Sorry posts were few and far between and I hate to tell you that they're going to be that way until I can get things caught up around here. The house is a disaster, laundry is piled to the ceiling and I have two kids who are having some difficulty falling asleep by themselves after two weeks of co-sleeping. Good thing I bought coffee because I think I'm going to need it~more than two cups of it!Being that mid-year is here, I decided that it was time to review my New Year's Resolution for the year and perhaps make another one or two just to keep me on my toes. Since you didn't know me then, my resolution at the beginning of 2008 was to bring my own bags while shopping instead of using plastic bags. I have been pretty successful. I have not purposefully taken a plastic bag though sometimes the baggers at the grocery store like to wrap my meat in them and I don't catch it until I get home. Remembering my bags hasn't been a problem. The times I forget, I use paper bags instead or I just throw it all back into the cart and toss it into my bags once I get to my car. (Can you believe that they let me do that?) I have 6 large grocery-size canvas bags for my groceries that I keep in my trunk and I always carry my trusty backpack/diaper bag with a larger linen bag tucked inside just in case I buy too much. This system works great for me. There is still a fair share of plastic bags at my house because my husband did not make the same resolution.
Because I am already meeting this year's goal, I'm ready to challenge myself with two more.
Resolution 1: To make one new recipe per week. This recipe must contain either a whole grain (barley, bulgur, couscous, oats, quinoa, etc) or beans.
Rationale: I love to cook and try new things but my family's diet has really suffered because of Dennis' very busy class schedule this past year. I've been too busy and tired to cook and try new recipes so we've been eating more processed foods then I'd like. I'm worried about the kids only wanting to eat blueberry bagels and peanut butter and jelly. I feel that by introducing these foods to the kids early enough that they will eat them more readily. Whole grains and beans are good for you, perhaps some of the best food out there. They are protein rich, full of vitamins and minerals and pretty tasty too. As an added bonus, the inexpensive cost fits nicely into our "living off of student loans" budget.
1. Find recipes: check out whole grain recipe books from the library, search through back issues of Cooking Light, and search the Internet. Make a list of recipes that I think we should try.
2. Make a meal calendar for each week that has a place to write the ingredients I need so I can make sure that I am indeed trying one new recipe per week! Plus, I'll have the other meals figured out and my grocery list too.
3. Buy ingredients for the particular recipes and keep the pantry stocked with dried beans (ready to be cooked and stuck in the freezer) and a variety of whole grains.
4. Actually cook the meal that I have planned instead of resorting to something like Mac-N-Cheese.
Resolution 2: To do more art activities with the kids.
Rationale: I worry too much about the "product" and don't focus enough on the "process" when doing arts and crafts with the kiddos. I want them to explore art their way using different mediums and techniques and just let them go for it and be creative while, hopefully, enjoying it all.
1. Get ideas: check out art books and read blogs (I think the Artful Parent will be my main resource). Keep an idea notebook for a resource.
2. Organize an art space: I'm not sure how this is going to happen because we have absolutely no extra room in our house, but I think if I got a vinyl tablecloth for the kitchen table or just let the kids have free reign of the backyard picnic table for easy clean-up that could work just as well and will have to work with our limited space.
3. Purchase and organize supplies: I have a bunch of supplies, but it needs to be sorted and stored so it's at the kids reach or at least sight. Again, this will be difficult because of our lack of space, but perhaps supplies can be stored in a plastic over-the-door shoe organizer.
4. Let the kids be artists: Encourage the kids to try various art techniques and use different mediums all while sitting on my hands and let them do the creating.
5. Display art: find a place to show off art. I have a small wall that I could hang up a few fishing lines with clothes pins so the kids could have an ever changing art museum.
There you have it: my two new resolutions for 2008. I'll keep you updated as time goes on.