Category Archives: buy local

Plant A Seed in a Child’s Mind

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I have a simple philosophy on children of 5 and 6 year old age.  I

believe these sweet little ones go into kindergarten as ‘babies’ and

come out of this period of time as, ‘school kids.’ I have seen both

Marley who attends one elementary school in kindergarten and

my grandson, Micah, who attends another elementary school in

the same level of education grow ‘in leaps and bounds.’

 

Every book their parents or I read to them, suddenly have become

‘brand new’ and they see such interesting new things in them. It is

almost like being ‘re-born.’  When it comes to understanding the

way children are ‘different’ or ‘unique,’ it really helps to watch the

changes first hand. I admit with my ‘pack of three’ being raised

with others I babysat, they were not given as much individual

attention. This becomes apparent when I am typing away the

‘bright’ quotes I can honestly listen to and apply to the six of the

grandchildren.  But, to tell you the truth, the kindergartners have

my full attention.

 

Take a week ago, when my grandson, Micah, was asking me about

my apartment. When did I move there? Why do I have my kitchen

table in the living room? Do I like having to do my laundry in the

laundry room?

 

About a month ago, my granddaughter, Marley was not totally

satisfied with looking at her own photo albums. She had a big

stack of them, since I put the 36 photo albums together each

season, for each individual grandchild. Marley has over 7 albums

to study and check out. She asked me first to look at her Daddy’s

baby photo album and then, moved on to her Aunt Felicia and

her Aunt Carrie’s. I was not asked too many questions, but I saw

her study each photo and it took her over an hour to move on to

ask me her next ‘request.’

 

Finally, she wanted to see my three “wedding dresses’ albums.”

This is how she named them. I told her I have only one photo of

the first wedding dress, so I showed her it. I told her “Aunt Carrie”

has the rest of the first wedding party photos. She is the ‘oldest’

and the only girl from this first marriage, I explained to Marley.

I really felt most of the photographs of her relatives would ‘mean

more to her’ than her brother, Marley’s Daddy.

 

She studied the three wedding dresses intently. She finally asked me

why I married each of my three husbands. I tried to make a ‘joke,’

telling her my patent answer to adults who ask me this question,

“This was my way of being a ‘serial monogamist.'”

For some reason, Marley looked like she really understood this

to be a cynical or sarcastic comment and used her scolding voice

to say,

“Nana, I am asking you a serious question: Why did you get married

more than once?”

 

My answer was a combination of “love” and “hope.” I gave her a

big hug for asking and told her,

“Your Daddy and Mommy will  be like my own parents, they found

the right match and will put effort into keeping their family together

and happy.”

 

When it comes to teaching young children about the variations of

life,  sometimes their lessons may come from viewing children and

families at the beach, grocery store or church. Up until they go to

school, they may think their family unit is just fine. My youngest

daughter asked her Dad years ago to come to special events, but

she found that I was her ‘constant’ and her ‘home.’

 

A valuable book with lessons, which could be a ‘tool’ to open a

discussion about class levels and economic differences has been

recently published.  It is called, “Last Stop on Market Street.”

The author of this delightful book is Matt de la Pena. The

illustrations are created by Christian Robinson.

 

You may already know the lessons held within this book, but it

has a rich diversity of subjects with a little boy who questions

what is around him. There is an element of ‘Life doesn’t seem to

be fair’ to him, in his questions.

 

The subject of why children don’t have as many choices of clothing,

backpacks, coats, shoes and those things are often brought up after

some time spent in kindergarten has passed. This book would help

to give a picture to children of a whole different lifestyle, while it

also is done lovingly and beautifully.

 

There are places which address the subject of what children may

like to have new clothes and other things for their first day of school.

Some ‘Big Box Stores’ have bins where you may purchase glue sticks

for your own child or grandchild, along with tossing some into the

bin. There are places where you can go to get new coats, as well as

other nice new things, ‘vouchers’ for new shoes and backpacks. They

may be held at your county fairgrounds or they could be passed out

at a local charity location. It is nice to hope that each child can start

the school year, with a ‘level playing field,’ so those students who

have less in their household income can still feel ‘pride’ in their

back to school clothes and other accessories.

 

The new book, “Last Stop on Market Street” started a great

discussion with my grandies. They were interested in knowing if

I knew such and such, did this child have the same situation as

the little boy in the book? I think this book would be almost better

to present before they go off to school. It would help for those who

have more than others, to be careful not to judge nor ask too many

questions.

 

I would label this book a ‘break through’ book, one which is rare to

find with a powerful, but gently expressed, understated message.

 

As a boy is leaving church with his grandmother, he sighs in relief,

he feels like going outside is ‘freedom.’ He has probably wriggled

and twitched, feeling confined in the church.  The boy named C.J.

holds his grandmother’s hand while she holds an umbrella over

the top of their heads.

 

The two head off to a bus stop. There is mention of this being

their weekly procedure or routine. Not everyone has a car, a

house or food every day. There is a subtle way of letting the

reader and listener of the story find this out.

 

As he looks out a window of the bus, C.J. sees a friend in a car

with his father.  After the car zips on by the bus, C.J. wonders

aloud,

“Nana, how come we don’t get a car?”

 

Later, he notes a young man listening to a digital music player

and he displays the classical example of  kid’s  ‘I want. . .’ or

wishing for something obviously out of the grandmother’s

budget.

 

Each time his Nana responds with positive words. She makes the

bus ‘come alive’ for C.J. as if it were a ‘dragon.’ She reminds him

of the bus driver’s ‘magic’ trick he plays when they get on the bus.

She mentions that the young man playing a guitar on the bus,

is entertainment enough. A blind man teaches C.J. a lesson on

senses. There are wonderful elements in this book which you

will become enchanted with, too.

 

The colorful illustrations display a myriad of views of the

community on the outside of the bus, as they pass different

sights.

 

The lesson of life being full of excitement without any technical

devices or modern conveniences is not told directly but indirectly

shown through the unfolding tale.

 

As they get off the bus, C.J. wonders why they always have to go

on Sundays to the soup kitchen for their meal. This will help

open a discussion with children or grandchildren.  In this lovely

book, it reminds us that in the “Land of Plenty”  or America, we

may not always have neighbors, friends or people living one

short block over, with as much as we have. There is a sense of

global understanding, in the diversity of characters and culture

in this book.

 

A children’s book reviewer, Julie Danielson, expressed this:

“It’s not often that you see class addressed in picture books in

ways that are subtle and seamless, but in “Last Stop on Market

Street,” the affectionate story of a young boy and his grandmother

does just that.”

 

There is a new Valentine’s Day book to recommend. It is one of the

bunny books by author Jutta Langreuter and illustrated by Stephanie

Dahle.

“There’s No One I Love Like You.”

This German author has a series of “Little Bear” books and there

are a few in her native language, too.  One which looks interesting

and magical in its illustrations with German expressions  is called,

“Frida and die Kleine Waldhexe.”

 

If you have a favorite book for children and wish to include it,

please feel free to tell us about the book and its message, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 17th is Doubly Worth Celebrating

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September 17th celebrates two special days for everyone, especially Americans.

Both of these events can be loosely based on the fruit of an apple. . .

First of all, on this historic day in 1787, our Constitution came into “fruition.”

Sometime much more recently, we have delegated a day that doctors ‘approve

of,’ while teachers are happy for their pay ‘bonus.’

I am stretching this ‘fruity’ tie a bit, aren’t I?

Today is known to as both, “Constitution Day” and “Eat An Apple Day!”

There have been some politicians from both parties making the rounds

in the news and in a wide variety of locations, celebrating the United States

Constitution.

Teachers may have planned to serve apple cider, discussing how apples are

pressed to make this delicious drink. Or maybe they had children or middle

school aged young people chopping up apples and serving them with some

caramel dip or sprinkling cinnamon on them. They may have ‘gone all out’

in their celebrations of the apple, by having some students learn how to

make pie crust. I remember as a preschool teacher, finding this to be as

good as making play dough.

Since many people get the Constitution confused with the Declaration of

Independence, I will give you a ‘third grade’ review of this fine document.

The Constitution of the United States is the ‘supreme law’ of the land in the

U. S. of A. It is a set of rules that are enforced by the three levels of the

government. We have the Branches of the Legislative, Executive and the

Judicial levels.

The Constitution was originally written and created in September, 1787 but

did not get accepted, approved or ‘ratified,’ until June 21, 1778. In 1789, what

is called the “Bill of Rights” was added.  There are 7 articles with the #s 4, 5,

and 6th ones discussing the relationship between the States and the Federal

Government. This includes the rights and responsibilities of the now fifty

States. It discusses or defines the concept of Federalism in the articles.

Unlike other countries’ forms of Constitution, our amendments are not

inserted into the original document but are added at the end.

Here are some fun books to look up and read to children from Grades

Fourth through Eighth Grade:

“Our Constitution Rocks,” by Juliette Turner.

“We the Kids:  The Preamble to the Constitution,” by David Catrow.

“Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution,” by Jean Fritz.

 

Here are some fun songs, starting with one that is a ‘chant,’ using

arms and hand motions:

1. “Apple Tree”

“Way up high in the apple tree (Raise your hands up in the air.)

Three little apples looked down at me. (Hold up three fingers and can be dramatic

using your eyes and eyebrows lifted.)

I shook the tree (Pretend to shake your trees!) as hard as I could

Down came the apple. . .

M-m-m

M-m-m

It was good!” (You may rub your tummy to demonstrate!)

(Anonymous)

 

2. “Apple Tree”

(You may listen to this on a 4 minute ‘track’)

“Swing with me,

Underneath the apple tree.

We will swing,

We will sing,

Till the dinner bell.”

(Doesn’t it seem to need ‘ring,’ here?)

To and fro we will go,

flying to the sky.

Happily, merrily,

Up we swing,

With the birds we fly.”

(Author Unknown)

 

Now for some adult versions of songs with the name of apple

in the group or song. You will recognize most of these, which

you may be excited to know there are plenty more in a list on

the internet!

3. Doris Day’s lovely song, begins with a stanza about her true

love, Johnny leaving her and she is sitting by her lonesome:

“The apple tree

The apple tree

The apple tree,

Still sitting under the apple tree

With nobody else but me.”

 

(Why do I remember this as, “Don’t go sitting with nobody else

but me;  under the apple tree?” Memories play ‘tricks’ on me!)

 

4.  Louis Armstrong’s song, “In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree.”

 

5.  Dionne Warwick’s song, “As Long As There’s An Apple Tree.”

 

6.  The Ink Spots’ “In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree.”

 

7.  Alice Cooper’s song, “Apple Bush.”

 

8.  An American Country Music Band in 2002 was called, “Hot Apple Pie.”

 

9.  Bob Applebaum’s song, “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree.”

(Isn’t this guy cool, has apple in his name, too!)

 

10. Jake Owens’ song, “Apple Pie Moonshine.”

 

Which is interesting, since this Friday, to ‘kick off’ our Fall weekend, I have written a post about

fermented apple cider. I really enjoy the flavor of “Angry Orchard,” hard apple cider made in

Cincinnati, Ohio. There is a new trend brewing apple cider, although the practice has been around

since the Mayflower ship brought the Pilgrims here, and even before then. . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Breakfast

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My girlfriend likes to eat oatmeal and a cup of yogurt for her

breakfast. My youngest daughter enjoys an egg, from a farmer

who uses only natural farming, with no added fertilizer or

other unhealthy ways to produce the chicken that lays the egg.

So, every step of the egg’s progress from the chicken to the

buyer, is considered healthy. She adds some seasonal fruits and

has been adding no gluten in her ‘diet,’ trying this to see if

her arthritis will stop flaring up. So far, so good. My brother

who had quadruple by-pass surgery on his heart, makes omelets

with mushrooms, peppers, onions and tomatoes. He has been trying

less gluten on his ‘menus,’ too. Then, there is my oldest daughter

who thinks those caffeine shots that give you energy, a donut,

cookie or other sweet food item with a cup of flavored coffee is

an acceptable way to head off to her third shift job!

My good guy friend, Bill, will tell you he used to be a frequent

customer of Waffle House, Denny’s and Bob Evans. He used to say,

“I don’t feel ‘normal’ without tons of sugar and coffee!”

Granted, until my late forties, when I had my cholesterol ‘scare’

that headed me towards a better diet and weight range, I was one

of those caffeine and sugar (with no dietary nutrition whatsoever)

people, too.

I have discovered a great cereal brand and am hoping to be helpful,

healthy conscious and informative today!

I was wandering around our local grocery store but not the Delaware

Community Market. I came across the Healthy Foods aisle, with soy

and almond milks in sealed boxes, nuts that have not been introduced

to salt, unless it is ‘sea salt,’and in the cereal aisle, big boxes

of cereal that had such nice, simple artwork seemingly ‘silk-screened’

onto them. These outdoors scenes are very modern and pretty, I would

like them on a t-shirt. They may be ‘downloaded’ as a free screensaver

on your computer. (A fact listed on the cereal box.)

I am a big fan of “Frosted Mini Wheats” or “Shredded Wheat,” so I was

searching for a healthier choice for my Breakfast of Champion: Me!

I found decorated with green and brown mountains and a cool blue lake

on the box labeled: “Mom’s Best” Cereal brand.

This happened to be on sale for the low price of $1.99.

Mom’s Best catchy little logo says, “Simple Goodness.”

I will proceed to give you the list of the nutrients that

sounded quite healthy and in big letter and numbers in the

front corner of the box, “44 grams of whole grains.” Wow!

I had never seen quite as high # of grains in just one

cup of cereal!

Here are some more facts about the cereal of my choice,

“Sweetened Wheat-Fuls:”

Calories= 210 without milk.

Total Fat= 1 gram which is just 2% of daily recommended amount.

0% Saturated Fat, 0% Transfat, 0 % Monosaturated fat, 0.5 grams of

Poly-unsaturated fat.

Cholesterol= 0%

Sodium= 10 mg. which is considered 5% of daily allowance for salt.

Potassium= 180 mg. which is also 5% of the daily allowance.

Carbohydrates totaled 45 grams= 15% of daily recommended amount.

Dietary fiber= 6 grams. I consider whole wheat bread as my ‘standard’

and usually try to get 3-4 grams, so this isn’t too bad. Higher than

most other cereals.

There were only negligible amounts of other vitamins and minerals,

with the only high ones being Phosphorus (15%), Magnesium (10%),

Zinc (10%) and Copper being 10%. Thiamine was 8%, Iron was 10%,

Niacin was 15% and Vitamin B6 was 8%.

What I enjoyed finding out about the cereal was that it tasted good

and did not have too much Sugar! (11 grams).

Since 2006, Mom’s Best Cereals has purchased more than 14 million

kilowatts hours of renewable wind energy.

The company practices a huge amount of recycling, with the most

notable plant being in North Carolina. This amazing plant claims

to have recycled 99% of any refuse or extra bi-products in 2011.

Company-wide, the number is still high at 96% recycled.

Between 2006 and 2011, the Utah plant reduced their amount of

water usage, needed to produce each one pound of cereal by this

fantastic amount: 26 million gallons of water!

So, while interpreting this data, I found that it was over that

five year period, producing every box of one pound of cereal,

saved the total usage of that huge amount of water!

Interpreted this into a ‘picture of the amount of water saved’

is: Picture 62 football fields covered with one foot of water

on them all!

If you wish to explore this cereal more, look up Mom’s Best Cereals

and there is a great cereal that I introduced to my grandkids that

is very similar to Honey Flavored Cheerios. (No nuts, for those who

have children with nut allergies.)

I had fun in the past, looking up those old time cereals, which you

may like to be nostalgic and see my post on those.

Otherwise, some of my readers may have other natural breakfast choices

that will make us hungry and possibly make ‘breakfast for dinner!’

I like to make whole wheat pancakes and waffles, along with using my

whole wheat bread to make French Toast. I love real butter, honey or

maple syrup on these. My grandkids sometimes ‘opt’ for strawberry

or raspberry preserves, from the Delaware Community Marker or the

Farmer’s Market, which is on Wed. evenings and Sat. morns, coming

soon!

Hope you will share something you like to eat for breakfast…

I promise not to ‘judge’ you!

Greener Choices

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In only a few days, April holds two important ‘green’

days: Earth Day and Arbor Day. I thought it may be

pertinent to make a list of progressive choices for a

healthier lifestyle. They may make the world a better

place, too!

While the Spring sales are still going on, you may wish

to stock up on cloth towels and cotton sheets. Cloth

towels to wipe up things are much better for the

environment than using lots of paper towels. Cotton

sheets are able to be dry quicker, reducing energy

usage, than ones that have polyester fibers.

Once you have stocked up and chosen which ‘rags’ to

discard, consider the following places who welcome old

towels, along with old blankets. Homeless shelters and

battered women’s shelters appreciate clean towels, as

well as ones to wipe up spills. They are happy to receive

donations of clean sheets and clothing items, especially

warm coats in the winter, as well as cotton t-shirts that

are clean for summer wear. Check on their ‘needs lists’

and you may have some of the necessities around the house

going to waste. Local animal shelters also are happy to

receive towels and cloths that look a little ‘raggedy.’

They also appreciate other donations of pet food, kitty

litter and unused leashes. I mentioned this to a friend

who is insisting that she will ‘never own another pet,’

since her beautiful golden retriever died of cancer.

Another ‘switch’ from good choices to better choices,

is to replace your toothbrushes with more eco-friendly

ones. There are ones now on the market made of castor

oil plants instead of petroleum (plastic ones). Look

for BPA-free and recyclable on the label.

I could not believe this figure that I found in the

Central Ohio “Natural Awakenings” magazine! Our library

has them in a stack, labeled ‘free.’ The statistic that

had my jaw drop open, thank goodness too early for a fly

to be caught, was that Americans use 500 million disposable

straws in ONE DAY! The founder of the Be Straw Free Campaign,

Milo Cress, accumulated this horrifying data. As you may

know, at parks, zoos and other natural wildlife preserves,

you are requested to not even drink out of plastic straws.

This is because they have accidentally flown out of trash

barrels, been dropped or otherwise gotten into the beaks

of animals. They can be caught and not able to be dislodged

by the animal, sometimes causing death or horrible pain.

The Ocean Conservancy has straws on their Top 10 list of

debris littering beaches. Paper straws are an alternative

since they do compost within 45-60 days. Otherwise, using

a sippy cup for kids and a twist up or down lid for adults

can keep animals and sea life ‘safe’ from harm of plastic

straws.

Of course, we have covered this in other posts of mine,

where I mention that I walk to the local Delaware Community

Market and also, during three seasons of the year, go to

the Farmer’s Market that is on the sidewalks downtown during

business hours on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings.

By purchasing locally grown foods, whether they are fruits,

vegetables or baked goods, you are supporting the farmers

and you are saving the environment. You carry a cloth bag,

which eliminates plastic or even, paper bags. You also are

getting healthier food choices, which is good for the body.

The planet appreciates your efforts to buy local, since

there is no need for shipping, warehousing, and boxing up

these products. Local purchases save gas!

A great and easy way to go ecological is to buy several

power-saver energy strips. They can be turned off when

machines are not being used. Also, unplugging things like

the toaster, coffee maker or blender can do a lot of good

by such simple actions. Completely shutting down computers

saves more energy than using sleep mode.

The Appliance Recycling Centers of America, in conjunction

with your local electric company, will come and pick up your

discarded appliances. You may find yourself purchasing a

more energy-efficient refrigerator or freezer in the

future, or your old one may just ‘conk out.’

In the states of California, Connecticut, Maryland,

Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont have

pledged to increase production or construction of the

charging stations needed to use for battery powered

cars, plug in hybrids and other ‘clean’ burning vehicles

by 2025. Consider buying one of these, when you have your

old car ‘bite the dust.’

There are companies that can help install solar panels

in your home, making renewable home energy cost-effective,

along with increasing your home’s property value.

There is a company that you may find on the internet,

that incorporates a “1% for the Planet” logo. You also

will find participating ‘green’ companies at Tinyurl.com/

OnePercentPlanet.

Some green tips for cooking are always helpful, sometimes

you may have already read them somewhere else. This can

help remind you of better eco-friendly kitchen processes.

Slow cooked soups and stews, a meal within a pot or pan,

covered to use the heat within the structure, is both

ecological and saves energy when it comes time to wash up.

This can be helpful to the budget, too, since you can use

a less expensive cut of meat, while it tenderizes in the

slow-cooking process. If you are a vegetarian, it is also

a delicious way to bring out the flavors of the foods and

softens root vegetables that need time to simmer.

Lastly, it is also a really nice way to come home, the

aroma wafting through the entryway to your house. In my

case, the hallway leading to my door. I adore smelling

the food that has been cooking on low heat while I have

been away at work!

I sometimes use a covered dish in the oven, which has a

similar economical and ecological purpose.

A company called Microban Europe, UK, has been testing

produce and finding it challenging to keep them fresh.

Unfortunately, I found this fact quite gross! our average

refrigerator harbors millions of bacteria! Yikes! There is

a eco-friendly product, called “The Berry Breeze” in-fridge

automated device. This circulates activated oxygen to

prevent mold, keeping produce fresh longer and reducing

spoiling to save your grocery money.

Another interesting ‘take’ on buying food that is healthy

and ecological, is to eliminate canned goods. I was not

sure I could get ‘on board’ with this plan! I have a limited

budget, so canned goods are more economical for one person.

Instead of a whole bag of potatoes or the singular, more

expensive one potato, I buy canned potatoes and rinse them

twice for the salt and metal taste to be rinsed off. I

then proceed to recycle my cans. There is a woman in the

Natural Awakenings magazine, Hannah Helsabeck, who is

president of WildMintShop.com, who shares “can-free”

meal tips online. Her quote is a positive and thought-

provoking one:

“It takes a little planning, but we can now avoid all the

toxic chemicals used in processing foods and making cans.

Let’s kick the can!”

I say, “Go Green!”

and

“Let’s get become a little more aware of how our actions

affect the environment and consequently, the world.”