Saturday, January 29, 2011


This experiment in limiting TV / media has led to a strange side-effect. I feel like I should be saving a lot of the stuff we recycle! I actually got a bit miffed at Aaron a few days ago for RECYCLING a toilet paper tube. Didn't he know we were saving those for noise-makers?

We've managed to use a corn starch can and rice as an awesome shaker AND drum, Lincoln logs as drum sticks, pots and pans as drums, Lincoln logs as trumpets and flutes, and silverware as cymbals. There was a lot of music-making. Connor's favorite song is “I've Got A Feelin” by the Black Eyed Peas.

Later, pasta was incorporated into the rice and with a few large plastic cups, became a great experiment in pouring and measuring. There was a lot of mess, I'm not going to lie.
I learned the hard way that this was an activity best used when you're NOT making dinner.

I feel like I am skipping a lot of topics here, but we went to opening night of the Children's Film Festival last night. They happily only showed about 10 minutes of awesome children's animation. The other hour was filled with the rollicking music of Caspar Babypants.

We had an amazing time! It was so fun to dance, sing, and take a million pictures. I thought that I was ending this month's resolution on a low note after the attendance at the film festival, but the emphasis here was not on TV or movies. I was so glad I went, and Connor had a great time retelling the story of “Tally Ho, A Pancake” to his dad and anyone else who would listen.

I guess the most important thing I learned from January's resolution was that TV isn't necessary to me getting things done. I now know that there are SO many easy ways to distract my preschooler. I also know that limiting TV and media led to Connor being more happy about playing by himself and finding new things to play with.

I was very vindicated and happy when I saw this article in February's “Parent Map.”

February's goal is money / finance related!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Keeping Up

Although the posting has been a bit infrequent, we have been doing (surprisingly) well without TV! For the next 2-3 days after the last post I stuck with the single 30 minute episodes of “Sesame Street” while we were getting ready in the mornings before school / playgroup.

I was really worried about weekends, since I work at a locally owned real estate brokerage and Aaron watches Connor all day, but they also stuck to my resolutions! It was actually with his father that Connor had a full day without television! I should actually give more credit where credit is due—Aaron stepped up in a big way when I first explained my resolution regarding TV / media and trying to limit it in Connor’s world. He began playing much more actively with Connor while I made dinner every night, offered activities and got him playing on his own in his room with train tracks, toy cars, stuffed animal worlds, etc. I could not have had as much success if it weren’t for Aaron being completely on board with wanting to reduce Connor’s time in front of the TV and computer.

Today in particular was a success for me, because I also didn’t resort to putting “Sesame Street” or any other show on in front of Connor so I could get things done. We watched NO TV today! I still picked up the master bedroom, got us both ready for a playdate, did a load of laundry, made dinner, and blogged while Connor PLAYED.

I think a big surprise for me in keeping this goal was Connor’s insistence on TV. When we weaned him off a bottle, got him sleeping in his own bed, and other milestones of babyhood, the longest he asked for something was 3 days. It has been weeks with the reduced TV schedule, and he will still randomly ask for a show throughout the day.

Connor is a very active boy—preschool teachers, other parents in co-op, and everyone we come into contact with lets me know this very frequently, so I imagine this is a factor in his desire for the boob tube. His mind and body are so active; he needs something to stimulate him most of the day.

The pictures from this blog have occurred over the last 2 weeks. I probably will go into depth on each activity later this week.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011


My sister-in-law is a smoking cessation specialist. When we were discussing the most important part of quitting the habit, she said that the first thing she talks about with people is how they will deal with the time left over from smoking. What are you going to fill those countless minutes with?

I am applying the same logic to “quitting” TV. If I don't keep this little boy busy, we both will resort to TV to fill the time. Today, my project was Michelle Branch's Thumbprint Cookies, as published in “Parade.”

We only resorted to ONE episode of “Sesame Street” today, while I was getting things ready (lunch, my own dressing / makeup and hair) this morning for co-op preschool.

I'm pretty proud of us, especially since Connor asked several times, both for “Despicable Me,” “Ni Hao, Kai-Lan” and even his “Alpha and Omega” movie. Each time I diverted his attention to a different activity, from wooden train tracks and trains to playing outside despite the sprinkle of rain.

Here is the recipe, and some pictures from our misadventures. These cookies are going to stay in my recipe files-- absolutely delicious!

2 cups sifted flour (sift before measuring out 2 cups)
½ tsp of salt
1 cup butter
½ cup of sugar
2 tsp of vanilla extract
Your preferred jam or other filling (we used Smucker's Simply Fruit in Black Raspberry and a bite size Hershey's chocolate bar cut up into 8 pieces)
½ cup sifted confectioner's sugar

1)                  Sift together flour and salt, set aside.

2)                  Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.

3)                  Add vanilla extract.

4)                  Slowly mix in flour ½ cup at a time till just blended. Chill dough 1-2 hours.

5)                  Preheat oven to 325. Shape dough into 1” balls and space 2” apart on cookie

6)                  Make a deep thumbprint in each and fill.

7)                  Bake 15 minutes, or until cookies are color of pale sand. Transfer to a wire
                     cooling rack.

8)                  When cooked, dust with confectioner's sugar.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tremulous Beginnings

A Year of Resolutions
Starting a blog has left me fraught with indecisiveness. Indecisiveness is, admittedly, something I struggle with already, but when going over my interests or areas I consider myself at least partially talented in, I kept hitting walls.
A cooking blog? Too popular. A generic “Mom” blog? Too easy to get lost in the array of topics. Celebrity gossip? News / Current Events? Too far-removed from my life, and kind of depressing.
It wasn’t until this last week that I started even thinking about resolutions. I kept seeing little tidbits about them, whether from Oprah’s Gratitude Journal, friends, or even on my Windows 7 desktop news ticker. I hadn’t gone out of my way to set any concrete resolutions, but I had been thinking about things I wanted to implement as a parent. Connor, my 3-year-old hellion / sometime angel, gets entirely too much screen time. Aaron, his father and my partner, just mentioned Connor muttered in his sleep something about the “Thomas game,” which he plays on our computer with parental assistance. Even when he isn’t watching / playing, he’s dreaming about media! Yikes!
Somewhere between thinking that I could tackle the TV / computer game issue one day at a time, I thought I could devote a nice lump amount of time-- nothing too long, but not too short as to make the goal unattainable. It was around that time I thought I could do a different goal each month. I’m hoping these will span a variety of topics, from personal fitness (I am a newbie runner and slacker yogi) to parenting, home and domestic life, even resolutions to better my relationship. I’d half hoped I could develop a reader base to discuss and suggest new topics with.  
Anyway, this is my attempt to record 2011 and the 12 resolutions I make each month.
I’ll be posting some type of schedule for January’s “30 min of TV / screen time per day” goal.
In the meantime, please link me your blog! I’m dying to hear some other resolutions / unique blog topics. J