Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wee folk in the garden

I know. It's been awhile.

I've been in one of those weird funky transitional thought-provoking places in my life lately. When you find yourself in a place like this, things tend to get discussed into the ground, so I would rather not talk about it, if you don't mind. Let's take a break from that and talk about some slightly more superficial but much funner things.

Like this. I just found this website, They Draw and Cook via The Pioneer Woman.
It's a fun little place where people share their favorite recipes, which they have also illustrated! I love browsing through the little works of art.

This particular example is by Lindsay Schmitt

I haven't wasted nearly as many hours there as I would like to yet. But it holds promise. The recipes don't look too bad either. I suppose no one is interested in spending an hour or two in devoted doodling or watercolor to anything like... chicken nuggets. You would probably have to like the meal quite a bit.

After our Saturday coffee this morning, I decided to do a little window shopping. So the family and I headed to a home decor type place for which I had received a gift card for my birthday... about three months ago. Usually, I am bent toward being frugal, and usually, I would save my gift card until I actually needed or wanted something in particular. But I decided to do it a little differently this time, and have a little shopping spree, with nothing particular in mind. I ended up coming home with a tea strainer, a colander in the color of robin-egg-blue, a bar of dark chocolate, some decaf earl grey from Twinings, and a wind chime. I looked in my grab bag as we left the store and laughed at the... variety of items. Just some treats for me, I guess you'd call it.

Update on Fred. Mainly for your amusement.

He produced one gloriously delicious, deep red, organic tom-mah-to, which accounted for about 1/6 of a greek salad one night for dinner. I was kind of excited to finally eat of his fruits, and kind of apprehensive, since I hadn't seen any other fruits eager to burst forth. Surely I wouldn't have to wait three months between tomatoes - that wasn't gonna work for me.

Within a week or so, this little guy showed up.  Notice anything out of the ordinary?

Well, besides the fact that he is about 1 cm wide, how about the fact that he's already turning red? :) So much for this one. Apparently he doesn't have ambitions much higher than being a small something stuck between my teeth. God forbid I should drop him on the floor, I would loose him completely.

Also disheartening is the fact there are no other little fruits to speak of. Nothing. The branches are otherwise barren and slowly falling off to die.

...So much for patio gardening! I give up. Again!

Although I confess to eyeballing the herb seeds at the store this morning. If you remember, my theory with Fred was that he was already an adolescent, and I hoped he would last longer because of that. Maybe my new approach should be to find a plant with a life cycle already so small, there is no way I could shorten it.

In a completely unrelated note, I found myself humming Nat King Cole's "Too Young" last night. I was enjoying it so much in my mind, I decided to find it online. All I found was this cheesy video, which I just listened to. A couple times.

Well, how can you only have one song's worth of Nat King Cole? I ended up searching Autumn Leaves and of course, Nature Boy. That song. That song makes me want to cry. It gives me goosepimples. I really love that one.

I've also been kind of enjoying the Indie Singer-Songwriter Channel of lately. It's cool to listen to new music mixed in with some familiar tunes. And the Indie stuff is, in general, alot prettier than the tripe that makes it on the radio lately. Although I must note that Joel says is a better player. I'll have to look into it.

I guess it might be time to invest in some new music. And some seeds.

...maybe Nature Boy can give me gardening advice.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The value of money earned

Joel and I have talked in the past about whether or not we plan on giving our kids an allowance. I like the idea of kids learning how to deal with money, or having some kind of income. I would want to give them the benefit of working, saving, putting thought and effort into acquiring that which they desire and therefore find the value in their work as well as their possessions. But I don't like the idea of just giving them money for no particular reason except that it's That Day of the Week. Then there is the question of whether or not their chores should have anything to do with their allowance - whether or not to pay them to clean their room and so forth. I wonder then how will they would learn responsibly - that there are duties we have in life that must be done, whether there is reward or not, whether we feel like it or not. As an adult, I don't get rewarded or paid to make my bed, cook my dinner, wash my bathroom. But I do these anyway, because it's the responsible thing.

I've also been thinking about something I read in a pretty good book once. The author was talking about the difference between a child who gets whatever he wants given to him freely and a child who is told 'no' occasionally or gets a more reasonable number of gifts. At Christmas time, for example, the child who gets whatever he wants, a hundred presents wrapped round the tree, is less likely to really see the value in any of those gifts, tossing them aside at once for the next. But the child who only gets a few gifts, is more likely to take care of each of them, and appreciate both the gift and the giver more. I suspect that it's true of a child who puts his own time and effort into aquiring something as well - he values it more.

With all these things in mind, Joel and I have come to a compromise with which I am quite satisfied. My son is still only 2 years old, so all this talk about allowances and money is mostly just a plan for the future. But the gist of it is this: their chores will be an unpaid lesson in responsibility (making bed, putting away toys, etc). but they can earn money by doing any extra chores that are normally done by mom and dad (yard work, vaccuming, etc) Now they know there are some things that they will have to just do for the sake of getting it done, but that they can earn money by working for someone else.

All of this is just leading up to a sweet moment that happened this afternoon. I pulled out my little swiffy mop, to wipe up the kitchen floor of some sticky spots after lunch and saw my son playing quietly in the living room. And just on a whim, I decided to give him his first lesson in wages... even if he's a little young to grasp it completely just yet. "Hey, kiddo - do you want to help mama mop the kitchen?" His eyes lit up for something new to do, "Yeah!" and he ran over to help. I showed him how to wipe it back and forth and then let him at it. He proceeded to mop back and forth around the kitchen, with much more detail and interest than I expected. He even got in all the corners and under the table! I was planning to pay him 25 cents for about 2 minutes of work. But he did such a good job, I ended up giving him 50 cents for a job very well done, and I made sure he knew that.

He took his 50 cents and proceeded to play "spinnies" with them on the kitchen table. Hahaha. So much for learning the value of money at this age... Maybe I'll wait til he's older before I offer again. I think it also might click better in his mind if we went through the process of purchasing something with his money together and talking about it then too. But this was a good start. :)

Do you give your kids an allowance? Did you get one as a kid?

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