Thursday, September 21, 2006

New Restaurant (to us)

Saturday night we were supposed to have a babysitter, but that fell through. We decided to go ahead and go out to eat with the kids, then rent a movie and put them to bed. We ended up eating at Los Vaqueros here in town. I had never been there before, but Todd had. His friend Danny loves the place. It was pretty good. It was kind of "old school" Mexican food. Some people would call it more "authentic" Mexican food. That is why Danny likes it. His mother-in-law is from Mexico, and that is how she cooks. It reminded me of what we had eaten on our honeymoon in San Antonio. It was a little more "mooshy" and bland. It was definitely not Alfredo's! I would give it a 7 out of 10, though. I don't know if we will go there much. It is close to us, but we don't eat out that often. There are places near us that we like better.

We rented Failure to Launch. It was just okay. I think they tried to add weird stuff to it so it wouldn't be so much of a "chick flick." Hmmm. But Terry Bradshaw was so funny! I wonder when he will get his own sit-com? I have been waiting for that for 3 or 4 years.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

One great thing about fall

I have probably complained about this before, but somehow nothing really tastes the same since I've been pregnant. I will think of something that sounds good, buy or prepare that item, and it just does not taste right.

But I'm happy to report that there is one thing that tastes every bit as good as I remember it: Brach's Pumpkin Candies! Oh, they are so wonderful. The only thing is, I had to buy them in a bag with the chocolate candy corns...yuck. Even the kids don't really like those. I hope I do not get cavities from these things. I am still looking for a place that has just the pumpkins in a bag. The website says they still sell them like that. I am not going to get the off-brand that WalMart sells, because they do not look right. Even though the off-brand yellow candy corns are okay.

School is going pretty well. Peanut is wanting to make her own illustrated manuscript. I can't find any instructions on how to do that, we are just going from a picture in a book. I will look at the library on Friday to see if I can find anything about it. She has to do a little speech next week on a famous Oklahoman for her co-op class. She picked Shannon Miller. We found a lot of info about her, we are trying to narrow it down. I just thought, I should have asked her if she wanted to do Roger Miller. Hee hee! She is a fan of the Disney version of Robin Hood, so I think she would know who he was. (And we used to have You Can't Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd on one of her tapes.)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Today is a great day!

Praise the Lord! Todd is home from his trip. Yay! (And now I can blog again!) He is glad to be back too. He is catching up on his rest, so that's good. The kids were very glad to see him. He slept in quite a while today, and they were getting pretty antsy. There were many attempts made to wake him up. I felt like the Secret Service, having to guard the bedroom door so carefully. But they were just excited to have him home.

Here is the latest funny thing from our house. Junior has this big Spiderman action figure that Sus and Dan gave him (not to be confused with Spaderman, which is a totally different toy!) Then he has two little small Spiderman action figures. He pretends that the big Spiderman is the Daddy, and the two little ones are his little kids. They climb on him and hang on him just like real kids. One day Peanut got ahold of them. Of course, she decided to give the family a mom also, so she went to her Barbie box. Ballerina Barbie got selected to play the part of the mama. She brought them all to Junior and showed him what she had done. He thought that was very interesting (I'm sure it had never crossed his mind to make a family out of them.) He told her, "Umm...Peanut....get a cooler wife." Hee hee. Ballerina Barbie is kind of prim and proper. She has a perfect little bun in her hair, and of course she wears a flower costume.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Random thoughts leftover from yesterday

One of the solutions Ms. Winn offered in The Plug-in Drug was to remove the television set from the child's bedroom. This surprised me at first. What on earth is a TV doing in a child's bedroom?!! She quotes a survey that says that 53% of children ages 2 to 18 have a television set in their rooms. I'm sure most parents do that because they don't want to watch the same thing as their children are watching. Still, that is a lot of kids who are watching TV unsupervised. Scary.

I have seen a lot of recommendations online for a one-week TV Turnoff. After doing the 30-day Challenge, I would have to recommend that instead. After one week, we were really not seeing many benefits, and the kids were probably at the worst point. If we had not made the committment for a month, I would not have been all that impressed. It would have driven home the point that we watch too much TV, that's for sure. I don't think we would have learned much more than that, and we would not have developed any kind of routine where we didn't automatically think of TV first thing in the morning, or the minute we walked in the door.

Junior is really having difficulty with one show a day. I am not sure how this will work. Because we had errands this morning, I was able to hold him off of watching a show in the morning. When it was time for Peanut's school, I let him watch a short DVD, but tonight after dinner he was just dying to watch another tape. He doesn't get it. I let him help me refill my inkjet cartridge. He liked it, but I'm sure I have a few more gray hairs now. That is probably not a good thing for a 5-year-old to help with. From now on we will stick with cooking and taking out the garbage.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Book Review - The Plug-in Drug

While we were doing our TV Challenge, I found a book at the library called The Plug-In Drug by Marie Winn. It was originally written in 1977. I read the updated version from 2002. It is quite an interesting read. Some of it is a bit frightening, though.

She talks about how parents use the television as sort of a sedative, to get a break from child care. They become dependent upon using it, and soon it begins to disrupt their lives. They know there is something wrong with this, but most are not willing to get out from under it. In this way, she compares television to a drug.

The book is filled with study upon study that prove the negative effects of television on young children as well as school-age children. I liked that the author doesn’t stop there. She seems to understand why parents use television as a babysitter or a bribe, and offers solutions such as a TV-Turnoff, strict rules about television, time limits, and keeping TVs out of the childrens’ rooms.

This book should be read by all parents. When you finish, you may not want to throw the TV out the window, but I think you will have a more realistic, honest view of what television does to your family.

As for us, we have cut down our television use to about an hour a day. We are still playing around with the schedule, however. I am thinking that longer programs might be okay some weekends. Peanut has yet to request a show, though I told her she could watch one a day. Junior has had more of a problem with the limitation. He watches his program first thing in the morning, then he is out of time for the day. I have allowed a little computer time, though, while Peanut is doing school.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

TV Challenge Wrap-up - part 1

Well, the challenge is over. The kids were allowed to watch TV this weekend at Grandma's house. Of course they didn't watch much because there was other stuff to do. Junior and Grandpa did keep up their tradition of camping out on the livingroom floor watching Ghosts of the Abyss. That is a documentary about the diving machines going down to see The Titanic on the bottom of the ocean. I don't think they ever make it through the whole thing, they always fall asleep.

Here are a few of the benefits I've seen from skipping TV for the past 30 days:
1. The kids play together more often. This was not automatic, and not without it's problems, but they are better at getting along with each other.
2. Less complaining about being bored. Here is another that was just a gradual change. I would not have been able to say this if we had only had 1 or 2 weeks off of TV. They are able to find something to do when they need to, usually without begging me to come up with something for them.
3. They are less grouchy in the mornings. Junior is actually really cheerful when he gets up. He does not stick his thumb in his mouth and begin ordering me around. Peanut is less cheerful than he is, but she does pretty well if she gets some attention right at first, in the form of a hug and some cuddle time.
4. Junior no longer sucks his thumb first thing in the morning.

A couple of good things that have happened, I'm not sure if they are directly related to the TV Challenge:
1. The kids play outside more. The weather has cooled down a lot over the past month, though, and I think it is more because of that. Most of the outside time starts about 5 pm, and there aren't any kids shows by that time. Still, there were some things that they would watch with us after 5, like "Unwrapped" and some of the shows on Discovery and TLC.
2. Peanut has been helping me more with household chores. This may be more related to the fact that she complained of being bored more, and so was given work to do. She found out that there were a few things she actually liked doing.

We have some new rules about TV right now. I told the kids this morning that they could each watch one show. That means they technically could watch two shows, if they each want to watch a different show. This morning, Junior's "shows" were not on, I guess because of the holiday. So he watched "Mighty Machines" and Peanut did not end up watching anything. She was saving hers for later in the day, but we were busy with school and piano in the afternoon.

The other rule is that we will have the TV off when Dad comes home at night. He said that was one of the things he most appreciated was coming home and the TV would be off and it made the house feel quieter. Not that things are very peaceful around here at that time of day. That did surprise me a little, because usually when he gets home we would have something on TV that he liked to watch. So that was kind of cool.

Peanut and I watched a video from the library about taking care of babies. It was very sweet, and we are both excited about getting to take care of our own baby. We agreed that the babies on the show were too adorable, but of course ours will be much cuter than that. It was realistic though, and showed many newborn babies crying and fussing. Peanut learned how to swaddle a baby and we practiced that a few times. That is one of the main things she has been wanting to learn. Tomorrow I think we will work on diapers.

Tomorrow I'll tell some interesting things I learned from reading The Plug-in Drug, which was a very interesting book.