Thursday Open Thread

How do you keep your kids’ minds engaged during their summer break?

I remember months of boredom as a kid. Yes, I played outside, but it got hot. There was a lot of TV watching. And after a while, I looked forward to going back to school, just so I would actually have something to do and someplace to go.

So I try to avoid boredom for my own kiddos, especially DD. She is hyper curious and engaged, so she has had various day camps. I also buy her the Scholastic Summer Express workbooks, in hopes of helping her retain what she learned. She also has a weekly piano lesson and the occasional play date.

There is also a fair amount of iPad time, and video game playing. Today DD asked, “Mami, can we watch Property Brothers tomorrow?” She is delightful.

What’s on tap for these waning days of summer? Chat away!


Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

National Geographic Magazine published an insightful and depressing article on hunger in the United States. It cited a cut in food stamp — aka “SNAP” benefits — and falling wages for food insecure households in the U.S. This is a must-read.

Now onto another epidemic in this country: stress. As someone who is always “on” — working, tending to the kids, working out (at the crack of dawn), cooking or doing other household chores — this medium article by a fellow progressive activist really spoke to me.

There was never a clear diagnosis. It’s possible I’ve been suffering from adrenal fatigue, and with the major diet adjustments (I don’t eat sugar, wheat, or dairy, to name a few), my condition has dramatically improved. A lot of what I’ve learned was through food journaling and trial and error. Being a half-baked scientist, I’ve found a a few tips that have helped restore me, and are backed up by science as well. Paying attention to these tips after stressful projects or after a conference can help aid in bouncing back from fatigue, and often even out mood as well. They’re my own ‘field notes’, so your mileage my vary. Always consult with your doctor or nutritionist, of course.

Instinctually, I too, like coconut milk in my coffee, eat a lot of banana and potatoes (potassium), drink a lot of water, and love anything with lavender in it. In fact, when I am most stressed, I drink a lavender chamomile tea before I go to bed.

What are your anti-stress go-to foods and remedies? What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Tuesday Open Thread

Weird Al is back!

He released eight videos in eight days and created quite a buzz. He was relevant when I was 9, and he’s relevant now that I’m 39. Gotta love it!

I found myself playing his videos for my 16-year-old niece and giving her context about who the heck he is. She giggled at his takes on Pharell’s “Happy” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.”

But my all-time favorite Weird Al song? Amish Paradise. What’s yours?

What’s on your mind today? Chat away!


Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I am back from Netroots Nation and am preparing to leave on a family vacation (again). This time we are headed to El Salvador and New Hampshire to visit family.

Can anyone — or multiple folks — “blog sit” while I am gone? Basically it would entail updating the mother site the following dates:

Monday, July 28
Wednesday, July 30
Friday, August 1
Monday, August 4
Wednesday, August 6
Friday, August 8
Monday, August 11

I’ll be back on Tuesday, August 12. Speaking of, where did the summer go? I can’t believe we are already at the end of July!

What’s on your mind today?


Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Will you be at Netroots Nation? If so, I hope to see you there! Here’s what I have going on:

Thursday, July 17, 10:30 am to 11:45 am, “Solidarity, The Original ‘Lean In’: Women Are Owning Power”, Rm 140AB

Friday, July 18, 11 am to 12:15 pm, “Hunger First: The Importance of Food Security in Detroit”, Rm 140D

Friday, July 18, 3 pm to 4:15 pm, “Parents Caucus”, Rm 356. Please note: I will be moderating, and snacks and drinks will be provided.

Saturday, July 19, 5 pm to 8 pm, Special Dinner Sponsored by MomsRising. This should be a lovely evening, please join us at Salt & Cedar Restaurant, 2448 Riopelle Street in Detroit!

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Tuesday Open Thread

Apologies for the late thread! Insomnia is still kicking our butts, plus all the sightseeing with our niece has run me ragged and I plum forgot.

But, we have had a blast! Yesterday we closed down Universal Studios. Today, the beach (if this cloud cover goes away). Tomorrow we say goodbye. My niece is the kind of kid who gives me hope that my kids’ teen years might actually be pleasant. She is a delight.

How are you today?


Weekend Open Thread

After two nights of decent sleep, we hit another bump in the road on the Insomnia Highway of Suckage. For some reason DD insists on lying in the dark, trying to force sleep, until she drives herself to tears of despair and frustration. The night before last it climaxed with her literally screaming and wailing, “WHY CAN’T I SLEEP?!” at 12:30 a.m., waking DH, me, and our visiting niece (but not DS, thankfully).

Well, we hit our limit, so to speak. We made it VERY clear that there would be no more Benadryl, no more warm milk, no more babying. She is to turn on a light and read until she is tired and ready to sleep, even if it takes an hour or two. So that’s what she did last night after her freak out: read for a while, then fell asleep. LIKE I’VE BEEN TELLING HER ALL ALONG.

Our niece said she had an insomnia spell at this exact age, the summer between 3rd and 4th grades. She read books, and eventually it passed. I hope the same will happen for DD but if it doesn’t, then we will seek a therapist to help her learn how to cope. ‘Cause AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THIS.

On the bright side, we are having a lovely visit with our niece. We took her to a new Mythbusters exhibit at a local science museum, and she got to meet Kari from the show! I also accompanied her on a tour at a lovely local university, and it made me sorta look forward to doing it with my own children someday.

Yesterday we saw the space shuttle Endeavour, walked through the Exposition Park Rose Gardens and strolled down Olvera Street. For a grand finale we hit an amazing food truck fest. I have a tendency to tire my visitors out, but there is so much to see and do that I like to squeeze in as much as I can. Hee.

Today we will take a tour of the Warner Brothers studios, because my delightful niece is a Friends geek and she wants to see the Central Perk set. How adorable is that?!

What do you like to do with visitors? Are there any local activities or attractions that you always include?

What are you up to this fine weekend? Chat away!




Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Many thanks to our “rescue rangers” JennQKW and Mom of Twins for filling in for me while I was on a much-needed vacation with extended family. After a few intense weeks of long days at work, it was wonderful to catch up with my four cousins from the east coast over leisurely dinners, plenty of beach time and sunshine, and baseball games in southern California.

While I had seen many of the spots that I had taken them to, it was my first time at the Anaheim baseball stadium and Pfeiffer Beach, which is in central California and known for its purple sand.

Thank you all! I also received much-needed respite from the news. My heart breaks for the four children and two adults shot dead in Texas, apparently by an estranged father, according to ABC News.

And ICYMI, the Box Tops Marketplace program will close at the end of the month. Box top seals from products purchased up to July 31, 2014 will be honored, the company stated in an e-mail.

Also, this Washington Post op-ed by a mom who happened to own a mercedes when she fell into poverty and required food stamps is a must-read. It is bizarre the value judgements people in the U.S. make on the poor — including what a poor person should look like and behave. It’s enough pressure to make anyone crack!

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?