Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lazy Composting

Chris & I have gotten numerous questions regarding our little wine-barrel composting bin. I'm sure it's mostly because of the fact that it is a wine-barrel, whatever.  It works.  What is compost, you ask?  It's only the best thing that can happen to both gardens & landfills.

Anyways, we aren't hardcore composters.  In fact, we're pretty lazy about it.  I think "composting" seems like it would be a big, stinky, messy deal and I want to debunk that myth once & for all.

If composting was difficult, we wouldn't do it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Meet the Pets #VlogTalk

We have a lot of pets.  We love them.  Our lives revolve around them.

You might as well meet them.

I hope you enjoyed this week's #Vlogtalk!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

feather hair extensions - worth the price?

Chris & I are huge advocates of animal welfare.  Animal welfare probably factors into our lives more than anything else in our everyday decisions.  We rescue animals like it's our job...and it actually was my job when we lived in California.

We aren't vegan.  We don't belong to Peta. We don't throw red paint on people wearing fur (although, it's tempting).  I have made comments about how "dead animals must be comfy" in passing.

We simply try to live our lives in a way that is mindful of the humane treatment of animals.

When I first saw the feather hair extensions in Steven Tyler's hair on American Idol, I thought they looked pretty cool.  It didn't cross my mind that feather hair extensions could be inhumane.  I assumed the feathers were gathered during molting or from chickens used for food. As with most everything, I had to start researching it.

Yeah, I have a habit of ruining everything.  Feather hair extensions are no different.

These feathers have been long used by fly fisherman as lures.  Certain roosters have been bred specifically to produce the extraordinarily long tail feathers, which are too long to be practical on your average rooster.

Then, it happened.

Steven Tyler showed up on American Idol with feathers in his hair.

The people went wild.

The roosters cock-a-doodle-died.

Is it worth it?

It wouldn't bother me so much if the roosters had some other purpose in addition to their tail feathers.  For instance, using the hides of animals used for food for clothes or decoration (think: leather) is a more responsible choice than just letting the non-food parts of the animal go to waste.  Obviously, if you are vegan or vegetarian for your own ethical/moral reasons, you may feel differently about this.

If you like the look, how about researching some alternatives?  I did very little legwork and came up with some cute alternatives to feather hair extensions:

Tinsel strand hair extensions (oooh shiny!)
Alternative Rooster Feather Extensions (cruelty-free!)

Hopefully, feather hair extensions are on the way out the door as far as trends go.

How do you  feel about the trend in feather hair extensions?  Do you think it's important to consider animal welfare when following a fashion trend?  Am I silly for letting this issue ruffle my feathers?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Favorite Summer Drink #Vlogtalk

I promised I'd come back with a vlog, so here I am.

This week's vlog is inspired by 2.) How to make your favorite summer drink.



If you are a blogger and you haven't jumped on the #VlogTalk bandwagon, what are you waiting for?

Friday, June 17, 2011

you know that show, "party of five"?

Yeah, you look like that girl.  What's her name?  Oh, yeah, Jennifer something.  You look like her.  Did you know that?

^^^that is basically what happened to me any night I went out my freshman year in college.  Yes, my hair was long.  Yes, Party of Five was a popular show.  Yes, this should have been a compliment.


I HATED IT!!!  It made my blood boil to hear Mercer frat monkeys or Macon Whoopees (defunct ice hockey team) use this as their pick up line.  I understand that I should have, perhaps, been flattered.  However, I wasn't used to male attention and, first & foremost, I am a big ol' nerd!  I didn't like the the show, therefore it was not a compliment.

So, Morgan over at the little hen house has a celebrity look-alike linkup going on right now, so I figured I might as well join in the fun.  What do you think?  Yes on J. Love?

I also got Fiona Apple a few times.  Did I mention that in addition to really long hair, I was disgustingly skinny & my eyes kind of bugged out sometimes?

Just for fun, I'm including my husband's new found celebrity look-alike: Ohio State University Head Football Coach, Luke Fickell.

So, hop on over to Morgan's Blog and check out some of the other celebrity look-alikes!  Who do you always hear that you look like?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Spanking: the Problem or the Solution?

From babysitting, to daycare, to outdoor education, to nannying, I've cared for children, ages 2+, in almost every capacity spanning nearly two decades.  I've been required to take courses on age-appropriate discipline techniques for some of my jobs & courses on how to recognize signs of abuse. Legally, spanking was not an option even though some parents trusted me enough to give me permission to spank if I felt it was necessary.  Spanking is so far removed from my bag of discipline techniques at this point, I don't feel it's an appropriate way to discipline our son, Klaw.

I shared the article, Mothers' Spanking of 3-Year-Old Children and Subsequent Risk of Children's Aggressive Behavior, from the Journal of American Pediatrics on my personal Facebook page and asked for people's thoughts. The scope of the article is incredibly limited; it involves the discipline of 3 year olds and the behavior of 5 year olds.  That's it.  You can't draw long-term conclusions from that limited amount of information, even though the article's abstract points to that.  I'm sure most people will only read the abstract (I'm a cynic).  The conclusion within the actual article states that "this study adds to the growing body of
literature suggesting that parental use of CP may lead to increased child aggression." (emphasis mine)

When I asked my friends to define spanking, the general consensus was that an acceptable spanking involved an open palm & a swat on the child's behind.  Using a paddle or belt, swatting any other part of the body, or leaving a mark took the spanking to an unacceptable level.  Most of the people involved in the discussion had spanked at some point or did not have an issue with spanking as a form of discipline, even if it was one they would not choose to utilize.  A concurrent discussion on Twitter had far more people that did not agree with spanking as an acceptable form of discipline, even though several did not consider parents who spank to be abusive.

It's a fallacy to state, "I was (blank) and I'm fine; therefore, (blank) is fine." I don't think that's a good argument to use defend most things, especially where children are concerned.  For example, I was spanked and I'm fine.  My mom & Nana did not abuse me by spanking me.  I am not damaged by it nor was I traumatized by it.  This does not mean that every child who is spanked is also fine.  An acquaintance on Twitter and some Facebook friends absolutely feel that the corporal punishment they received as children was both abusive and traumatizing.  My experience does not trivialize the realities of their experiences.

NurtureShock was introduced to me through Twitter and it touches on a ton of parenting issues and research.  The relevant part about spanking rang true for me: "their data suggested that if a culture views spanking as the normal consequence for bad behavior, kids aren’t damaged by its occasional use." I grew up in a culture, community, and family where spanking was a routine part of discipline.  It wasn't a shock if I did something wrong and got spanked.  I was spanked by other parents and caregivers, as were many of the children in my community.  It is very possible that some of the kids I grew up with do feel that they were abused by being spanked; I'm just not one of them.

On the flip side, I can say with certainty that it's a fallacy to state that everyone who spanks is abusive and everyone who is spanked is abused.  Another study by Dr. Marjorie Gunnoe is attempting to determine both positive & negative outcomes from children who were spanked & were not spanked on a much larger scale.  The first round of research provided some interesting information:

those who’d been spanked just when they were young—ages 2 to 6—were doing a little better as teenagers than those who’d never been spanked. On almost every measure. 
A separate group of teens had been spanked until they were in elementary school. Their last spanking had been between the ages of 7 and 11. These teens didn’t turn out badly, either.
Compared with the never-spanked, they were slightly worse off on negative outcomes, but a little better off on the good outcomes.
Only the teenagers who were still being spanked clearly showed problems.

This is not some groundbreaking conclusive report, but it does show a different side of the coin and it covers a much larger span than just two years of growth. It doesn't disprove the loads of research finding negative consequences to physical discipline. It also does not change my decision to not spank my child.  It definitely doesn't mean that only spanked children will be successful.

Discipline issues are not simply resolved by spanking or not spanking; any parent or caregiver who has dealt with a sensitive child or a child with sensory issues understands this to the extreme.  However, spanking is a very controversial topic that immediately puts people on the defensive and divides parents instead of bringing us together.  The real issue in discipline & perhaps the most difficult aspect of it, whatever method you choose, is consistency.


I lean towards the concept of natural & logical consequences as a form of discipline.  It is what worked best for me caring for and educating other children before I even knew there was a name for it.

What is your biggest challenge disciplining children?  What have you found that works best?  How does your discipline style compare with the way you were disciplined as a child?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

time flies when you're havin' fun!

Well, Chris is back.  My home & heart are full.

I'm been on a blogging sabbatical because I'm just enjoying the simple pleasures...

-having another adult to talk to & laugh with in my home
-having another pair of hands to comfort a cranky child or change a dirty diaper
-having another person to put a toddler to bed & to cook a meal with in the evening

I'm also reading books voraciously.

I'll be back.  I promise.

With pictures.

Maybe even vlogs.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

6 words; 8 homes

This post is inspired by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop prompt:
1.) Six Word Memoir: Write about a significant time in your life in just six words.

I can't stay in one place.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Can you write a six word memoir? Give it a shot in the comments.
Feel free to leave more than one!
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