Life with Kids


Last week I had the thrill of having an article published in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette for the first time.  The article was about consignment sales and ran as the lead story in the family section on Wednesday, September 29th.  I’m not going to re-post the whole article here, but it ran with a sidebar that listed all the upcoming Fall sales across the state.  I thought that might be useful, so I’m posting it.

For those of you who have not experienced a children’s consignment sale, it’s a great way to score some excellent clothing, toys, and gear at great prices.  It’s also a good place to make some money on all the stuff your kids are growing out of.  It’s also very eco friendly, as you’re helping to recycle tons of products instead of consuming more new things.

Popsicles
Oct 7: 9am – 8pm
Oct 8: 9am – 5pm
Oct 9: 9am – 1pm
Northeast Arkansas District Fairgrounds
2731 East Highland Dr, Jonesboro
http://www.popsicleskidssale.com/

Duck Duck Goose
Oct 7-10 8am – 5pm
612 JP Wright Loop Rd, Jacksonville
http://www.duckduckgoosesale.com

Central Arkansas Mothers of Multiples
Oct 8th: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Oct 9th: 7am – 3pm
Trinity Lutheran Church
3802 N Olive Street, North Little Rock
http://www.centralarkansasmoms.org/

Peek-a-Boo
Oct 14: 9am – 7pm
Oct 15&16: 9am – 5pm
2213 N. Reynolds Road, Bryant
http://www.peek-a-boo-consignment.com/

NWA Mothers of Multiples
Oct 15: 7am – 2pm
Oct 16: 7am-Noon
Trinity Fellowship Church Gymnasium
1100 East Rolling Hills Dr., Fayetteville
http://www.nwarkansasmultiplesclub.4t.com/ConsignmentSales.html

Duck Duck Goose
Oct 14-16 7am-6pm
Crossgate Church
3100 East Grand Ave, Hot Springs
http://www.duckduckgoosesale.com

Just Between Friends
October 24-25 9am-6pm
NWA Convention Center
Hwy 540 & Hwy 412, Springdale
http://springdale.jbfsale.com/

Duck Duck Goose
Nov 11-13 7am-6pm
Former Sonshine Academy at 803 Harkrider, Conway
http://www.duckduckgoosesale.com

Second Look Kids
Nov. 11&12:  8am – 7pm
Nov. 13: 7:30am – 3pm
Elm Springs United Methodist Church
Hwy 112, Elm Springs
http://www.2ndlookkids.com/Home_Page.html

If you know of any other upcoming consignment sales, please leave a comment and I will add it to the list.

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Carina has become highly interested in the Spanish language over the past month or so.  I thought it would be fun for her to read some books in Spanish, so we hit the library and picked up If You Give a Pig a Pancake in both English and Spanish. The Spanish title is Si Le Das un Panqueque a una Cerdita.  I thought it was funny that the Spanish word for pancake is panqueque.

Obviously, a pancake is called a pancake because you cook it in a pan.  So, the Spanish translation would make more sense if it was something like pastel (cake) de cacerola (pan) or something along those lines.  As it is, the direct translation of panqueque is Breadwhatwhat. I may be wrong, but I’m thinking that the word panqueque is the result of combining existing spanish words to make it sound similar to the American word, despite the words’ meanings.

But, before I turn into an ugly American, I should probably find out where pancakes come from.  A Google search for “who invented the pancake” returns various results that credit, among others, the dutch, the Romans, and Asians (using rice, of course).  By the way, Aunt Jemima’s pancake flour was the first ready-mix food to be sold commercially.  It was invented in St. Joseph, MO, according to foodreference.com.  Holla to my home state.

Anyhow, the American version most likely originated from American Indians, who called it noekehick.  This was transmangled by the white settlers into “no cake”.  From there it mutated again to “hoe cake” and started being called pancake around the 1870s. (foodtimeline.org) Coincidentally, this is about the same time that cast-iron cookware became popular.

So, pancake is indeed a uniquely American word, and from what I can find online, panqueque is the spanish knock-off version.

Ta-da!  Your evening’s foreign language, American history, home economics, and children’s literature lessons all rolled into one!

At the beginning of August, the kids and I were looking at a full month of empty week day schedules.  I had envisioned trips to the pool, a tour of all the area playgrounds, maybe a few morning runs with the jog stroller.  And then the real live Arkansas summer reared it’s ugly three digit temperatures and all my plans were dashed.  In the meantime, we’ve found a few new summer pastimes that come free and complete with climate control.  If you’re not in Little Rock, maybe this list will help you get ideas when researching things to do in your town. Click the links for location and hours.

Indoor Playgrounds: Two area churches have indoor playgrounds that are open to the public.  Both of these locations also have a cafe so you can catch lunch or at least a snack after a long play session (the cafes are not free).

  • The Church at Rock Creek‘s playground is a beast, boasting four levels of climbing, tunneling, sliding adventure.  There is also a less intimidating space for the under two set.  As best I know this playground is open every day except Friday and Sunday.
  • Little Rock’s First Baptist Church Family Recreation Center has a small indoor playground that is great for preschool aged kids and younger.  It is two levels with a slide, and it’s very easy to see the kiddos at all times.  There is also an adjacent outdoor playground here. Open Monday thru Friday starting at 5:45am

Storytimes: Normally the Central Arkansas Library system is ripe with  storytimes throughout the week, but for some reason several branches take the month of August off.  We’ve found a couple great storytime events to keep us afloat, though.  Both of these storytimes are scheduled to continue through the fall.

  • Storytime at McMath Library is every Wednesday at 10am.  Miss Julie is a wonderfully energetic storytime librarian, and the library itself is beautiful, clean, and easy to get to.  Storytime includes 3-4 books, 2-3 songs, and an art/craft activity.
  • Storytime at Whole Foods is every Friday at 10am.  “Farmer Kaylea” (complete with overalls) takes time out from her farm to share some stories and a yummy snack.  Storytime includes 2-3 books, 1-2 songs, a healthy (usually fruit) snack, and coloring sheets.  The kids and I usually stay and play in the kids’ play area (blocks, puzzles, books) for an hour or so.

Open Gym: There are a couple opportunities for open gym play that I know of. (These are not drop-offs.)

  • Unity Martial Arts offers a free open gym every Friday from 9am-11am.  Sometimes a wide open padded space is all a kid needs.  The huge bouncy balls and a game of bean-bag toss are just icing on the cake.
  • The Little Gym is offering a free open house this Friday, August 13 from 2:30-4:30pm.  Instructors will be on-hand to facilitate free play, themed games, prize drawings, face painting, and more.  If you decide to sign up for classes while you are there, mention that you heard about the open house event from me (Fawn) and they will waive the yearly membership fee for you.

If you know of any other free “beat the heat” activities or events, please post them in the comments section. We still have a month til school starts!

Our July One Small Change is probably the scariest one of the year: TV-free Tuesdays.  In the way of Meatless Mondays, this change is meant to decrease consumption of energy, but it also serves another, possibly more important, purpose.

Before I had kids, I had proposed to Craig that we get rid of our TV all together, or at least get rid of our cable service.  I had full intentions of not letting our children watch TV. Ever. Craig did not think ditching the tube was a good (or sane) idea, and so the tv remained.

TV Zombies

Now, two kids later, there is more tv watching going on in my house than I would have ever imagined, and it’s my fault.  With a two year old and a three year old underfoot, TV has become a tool.  My dad came to visit a few weeks ago.  “I don’t know how you get anything done during the day.  It seems like they both decide together when they’re going to misbehave or stop listening to you,” he said.  A couple hours later, both of the kids were parked in front of a DVD movie, motionless.  Dad had his camera out and was taking pictures of them.  “This,” I said, holding up the TV remote, “is how I get things done.”

The studies all show that TV is bad for kids, dropping IQ scores and upping body fat percentages.  I find comfort in the advice my Mom gave me when Carina was a toddler: “If you get to the end of the day, and you have things you need to get done, it’s ok to turn on the TV.”  The problem is that my kids are waking up with TV, twice a day.  It’s the first thing they ask for in the morning, and also after nap. Callen will even say, “Let me watch a show to make me feel better” if he is sad or hurt.

So, I’ve designated Tuesdays as our No TV days.  To be quite honest, I don’t know if I will be able to keep this one going.  I am cheating this month.  I didn’t just choose Tuesday because it sounds nice with “TV”.  We have a very busy schedule on Tuesdays this month, so if I make it through the hour and a half of at-home time in the morning with no TV, I’m pretty much safe. It will be a different story in August when all our extracurricular activities end and we’ll be left to entertain ourselves. Often the kids have no problems entertaining themselves, but when they are out of control or trashing the house, it is I who reaches for the remote.

Oh, yes, and then there’s that energy savings thing I mentioned, too.  Because when our TV is on, our Satellite box is on too, along with the amplifier, and speakers, and sometimes the DVD player too, and maybe even the v-smile video game.  So, skipping one day of TV a week probably won’t save enough electricity to be noticeable on our bill, but that’s why it’s called One SMALL Change, right?  Only this one doesn’t feel so small.

Cutting yourself on the lid is no longer the scariest thing about canned goods.

Yesterday, my friend Nicole sent me an email asking if I knew that most aluminum cans used to store food have linings that contain BPA, a chemical that’s been linked with cancer and other health problems.  I responded that I did know, and then started to feel guilty that I knew and didn’t tell her. On the one hand, the studies on BPA are somewhat controversial – some say BPA isn’t harmful at all – but still, I’m the mom who immediately bought BPA-free bottles and shelled out the big bucks for metal sippy cups when the BPA frenzy first broke.  So, EVERYONE, please know that the majority of the aluminum cans in your pantry contain BPA that could be leaching into your food.  Do what you will with the information, but if you decide to throw out all your canned goods, please donate it to a food bank,  (Is possibly BPA tainted food better than no food?  I think yes.) or at least recycle the cans.  If you want more information on BPA in aluminum cans, you can start here.

As if that weren’t enough, today I found out that an environmental group in California has found that several brands of juice and packaged fruit contain illegal amounts of lead.  These brands range from small local juice companies to national giants and include both organic and non-organic products.  All the products tested are marketed towards children. You can see the list of products tested here and get more information on the now formal case here.

So, another couple reasons to support local foods.  And avoid buying canned goods, or anything in a plastic bottle.  And start searching yard sales for a juicer. And figure out a way to grow your own apples.  And make one of your kids major in chemistry so you can understand all this stuff.

Nicole put it best in her email response to me: “Ugh!  Is there anything I can buy that won’t harm my child??”

I love alliteration.

ATTN CENTRAL ARKANSAS READERS

If you haven’t picked up a copy of the June issue of Little Rock Family magazine, go get one! The magazine is free and you can usually find it at the front of your neighborhood Kroger. In addition to a listing of the 2010 Family Favorites poll results, there’s also a list of  24 places in Central Arkansas Where Kids Eat Free,  compiled by yours truly.  The list is organized by day of the week, so if you plan it right, you can feed your kids for free every night! (The list is much prettier in print than online, so I recommend picking up a hard copy so you can tear out the list and keep it in the car, or in your purse.)

If you don’t have access to a hard copy of the magazine, you can check out the electronic version on the Little Rock Family website.

Our March One Small Change is rolling right along.  I’m happy to report that everything we have planted so far (radishes, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, and sunflowers) is happily showing off little green leaves.  Today the kids and I planted cucumbers, squash, beans, and stevia.  Carina loves eating the leaves off of the stevia, which is a natural sweetener.  We’ve had a lot of fun in the garden, and learned a few things as well.

digging holes for the sunflowers

watering the radishes and carrots with water from the rain barrel

happy and proud little farmers

I am excited that we have plenty of water to water our little garden from our rain barrel: it filled up the very day that Craig installed it thanks to  a nice spring storm.  Our April change will go right along with our new garden, and is something that I have been wanting to do for over a year now: COMPOSTING!  My dad has a composter that he is going to let us use, and I’m thrilled to get started.

“Catch! Calls the Once-ler
He lets something fall.
‘It’s a Truffula Seed.
It’s the last one of all!
You’re in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds.
And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs.
Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.
Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest. Protect if from axes that hack.
Then the Lorax
and all of his friends
may come back.’ ”

– Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

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