Monday, March 21, 2011

Vacation, Stay-Cation, Experiences

As a parent, we can offer our children the world and it doesn't have to cost us a fortune. Children need experiences, time and lots of opportunity to play with ideas, pictures, plants, animals, life, changing colors and so much more. We can and should explore our local woods, wildlife and backyards. We should find local resources, and find ways to involve them in our lives.
We don't have to travel, but if we can, we should. Backpacking, camping and house-trading can be affordable ways to travel. Finding hotels that have kitchenettes (for those with food allergies, this may be a great option since you could cook most or all of your meals), has been a good money saver for our family. We also try to find free activities such as hiking state/national parks, free museums and when we can't do free, we try to prioritize our favorite places. We also pack most of our food so that we can save money during the drive.
Of course, the stay-cation is a great way to explore your community, plan special events, and create memories with your children.

Our most recent trip was to Treasure Island Flordia. We found a hotel that was on the beach, planned our trip for the off season, and spend our days at the beach. We happened to be there during a sandcastle building competition, which included free music and even fireworks. So while it was a little more pricey due to airfare, we did save a lot by enjoying the beach.

I know the experiences my family gave me have stayed with me all these years and I know the ones my children take away from our trips will stay with them just as long.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring into Spring with Fresh Ideas

Good Evening. I have gotten away from posting lesson plans in the last few weeks, so I thought it wise, to update the blog and offer some fun ideas for spring.

If you live in an area like Western New York where there is more mud, snow and rain, than green and growing things, which the word spring evokes. Don't be alarmed if you live in such an area, spring is coming! Officially, the 21 marks the first day of Spring. Many celebrate this day to recognizing the circle of life, the rebirth of life, and the sacred nature of being born. Baby animals join us here on earth, while the flowers begin to shoot up and even bloom. We recognize this cycle in our family by planting seeds, an egg race and even egg dying. This year, we will read several new books...

We will also make nests using this recipe, die some coconut for grass and add a few jelly beans. I might use peeps for the nests. (Yes they are full of nasty sugar, but I love them.)

Egg Dying generally involves natural food dye made from plants, vegetables, fruits and flowers but this year we will save this activity until Easter due to a scheduling conflict. However, the egg race will go on, and we will scatter seeds in the field.

Book recommendations: When the Earth Wakes
Spring has Sprung
Spring Thaw
Are You My Mother

UU Principles

* A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
*The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all;
* Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

That Which is Woman

Women's Rights

I have been blessed with three little girls and with that comes a certain responsibility to help them understand our past, present and future as women. My girls are growing up in a world that our grandmothers only imagined. I don't know how my Great Grandmother (Gram) felt about women's rights, but my Mother believed in "whatever men can do, women can do better." I remember feeling semi-superior to my brother, who could not be a woman. I knew nothing of feminist theory until college, and I don't feel my high school helped to promote under-represented professional areas as a viable option for women.In fact; even into the 1990's teaching was still dominated by women, while politics and the sciences were still lacking women professionals.
I felt that the whole world was available to me, and yet, where did I end up- teaching. I am not discounting my career choice or my experience, as I truly chose my life but I wonder how girls of today feel. So many images still display very outdated ideas of the feminine, that which makes a woman a woman. Indeed, men and women are different - we have different chromosomes, our bodies are physically different but how much of who we are is nature or nurture is still debatable. Personally, I feel that embracing that which is feminine, that which makes us women is unique to each individual female. To define it in terms that fit me, wouldn't be useful as it would only serve to divide rather than unite since each woman would either accept the given definition or they would discount it. I doubt there is a universal truth of women, even childbearing isn't a given, nor should it be.
Still, the important work of our Mothers' continues and the next generation will take the torch and move the women's movement forward.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

UU Kids, A Review

This summer my Reverend purchased several resources in memory of her father who had passed that spring. Among the resources was UU Kids Book, a soft bound curriculum featuring past UU movers and shakers. The book gives brief stories about the UU's life and simple activities to go along with the story.

As a homeschooler, I am always on the look out for UU related materials, but rarely find a book that I could use without having to do the research myself. As a busy Mom of three, I appreciated the simple but engaging stories and activities were right at my finger tips. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a simple but well thought out text on those who made a difference in the world and were also UU.

You can purchase this book from the UUA's Bookstore for $15.00.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Well Deserved Me Time

I feel there are a few universal truths and one of them is the importance of "me time." Before having children I knew I would have less "me" time but I never imagined how little I would really get in the course of a day, a week, a year. In fact, I had this moment of panic after having my first child, "what about me?", as I changed another diaper, ate less food than a bird and didn't get out of pajamas for days. Of course here I am, two more children later and most nights I actually get to sleep a full eight hours and even shower, but my initial panic still pops up now and again.

Each Mother recharges in their own way. I love to get away, by myself, for a few days and watch tv, read a book, order room service and just take care of me. In the early days, taking time for me was the thirty minutes my daughter would sleep without me, now it is the few minutes while the girls watch a documentary, or when they are at dance. However, finding a way to recharge, reconnecting with yourself, is essential to keeping your inner peace and joy flowing. Carve out a day for just you and don't feel guilty- "if Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy".