Monday, August 30, 2010

Food Allergy Files: Candy

Candy and desserts are very high risk foods for people having any kind of nut allergy.  That said, since the Lone Star Girl is not actually allergic to peanuts, we used to be able to find a decent variety of things that were not cross-contaminated by tree nuts.  This is becoming less the case, though, as time goes by.  So many formerly-only-peanut-infested varieties are coming out with almond versions, etc.,  and many of them make the tree-nut kind on the same equipment that is used to make the kind that doesn't actually contain tree nuts, so it is getting harder and harder to find safe candy for candy occasions.  You still can find it in the grocery store - you just can't find many varieties at all.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lactivist And Proud Of It

I saw a mother rather desperately reading the label of the store brand infant formula at the grocery store yesterday, trying to make sure she wouldn't be sacrificing quality for price.  She was being hassled at the same time by a teen who was probably her younger sister (or older child, but she didn't really look old enough to have a teenager).  The all-knowing teen was trying to talk the harried mother out of buying the cheap formula - "she's not going to drink that" and all.  I could see the mom stressing, so I stopped and told her that I had read that the store brand formulas were every bit as healthy as the name brand ones, which is true.  "Really?" she asked, lighting up with relief.  It's nice to be able to make people feel better in the course of a day's grocery shopping.

I am, by the way, the sort of breastfeeding activist that our formula-pushing culture likes to accuse of guilt-mongering just because I try to make our culture more breastfeeding-friendly and to make breastfeeding more possible for mothers who want to do it.  

For the record, while there are crazies in every camp, most lactivists don't want anyone to feel guilty - we just want everyone to get the support and acceptance they need.

Happy World Breastfeeding Month.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Back-To-School Updates

It has been a busy week! First week of school being in session for three of us and the first full week for the Lone Star Baby, too.

Lone Star Pa and I are checking off first day paperwork, grading papers and trying to memorize names.  He is teaching reading as well as writing and grammar for the first time this year but has only advanced seventh grade classes this time around.  I have a seventh grade class (Texas) along with my sixth grade classes (World) this year.  We are both grateful to have such meaningful work, especially in these times.  We're also both very offended by all the anti-teacher rhetoric in the mouths of politicians and the media these days.  All the teachers we know are hard-working, dedicated professionals.  It would be nice if people were actually interested in doing what it takes to improve schools (more teachers with smaller classes and fewer preps, more special ed. support in the classrooms, school social workers) rather than blaming teachers and schools.  That would cost money, though, so, oh well.

The Lone Star Baby is adoring her new school.  She says the work is "too easy" but I know they are just easing the kids into things and expect it to be plenty challenging soon.  She's excited to have a P.E. class and an art class and a music class and she loves recess and the fun things they do in after-school care.  They had a picnic last night and we all went, although the Lone Star Girl and I left a little early to make her Girl Scout meeting.  It has been nice that the Lone Star Baby knows so many kids from her old school who are now attending this one, too.  The various teachers keep stopping me when they realize I am her mother and exclaiming passionately about how adorable and studious and sweet she is - yesterday one told me that she is just one of those students who lights up every place she goes.  It's enough to go to a mama's head.

The Lone Star Girl is wide-eyed and worried about high school.   Her middle school was a International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program and this high school program is a continuation of it.  She has had lots of homework from day one and is already pretty exhausted and stressed out after just one week.  I'm trying to be very supportive and to help her stay organized and take one day at a time.  She is going to be on the school swim team for her P.E. and they started dry work-outs yesterday but won't be getting to the pool for a bit yet.  A bus will be picking her up at her school at 6am and taking her to the Natatorium and then back to school before classes start at 9am.  Not going to help a lot with the tired, but she seems committed.  I know she will do wonderfully, but it is a big adjustment.  She is really excited about her theatre class and is looking forward to speech tournaments.

Lone Star Pa will be coaching the Lone Star Baby's soccer team again this year and they should be getting started in early September.  Both of my Girl Scout troops have gotten started these past two Fridays.  The Daisy troop will be doing the Daisy Flower Garden Journey and the Between Earth and Sky Journey this year.  The Lone Star Girl and one other girl in her Cadette & Senior troop have completed their Silver Award paperwork which will be turned in this week.  They and some other girls will be doing a Senior Journey this year that will be part of the road to their Gold Awards.

There will be another hearing on the contested air permit for Las Brisas before the SOAH judges in early September, and all that continues.  I want to fit in a little phone-banking/block-walking for candidates this fall but I don't know when!  Busy, busy, busy times...

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day of High School!

My baby is a high-school student!  She is beautiful and strong and good and it is a privilege to see her grow up...but it is still so hard to know how soon she will fly away into adulthood.  How I will miss her!

We were all back at school by today, and after we were all home, we went out to eat to celebrate her first day of high school, braved the office supply store for a few supplies she only learned that she needed today, and came home to fill out all the first day paperwork and sign the syllabuses and get ready to do it all again tomorrow.

How quickly the years fly!

(Obviously, we are having camera issues at the present time, but I have some old-fashioned pictures of both girls' first days that will get developed soon.)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Crazy Daisies

We had our first Daisy Girl Scout meeting of the year last night and started the Daisy Flower Garden Journey.  It was wild.  Live, as the big kids would say.   

We planted our "mini-garden" and played lots of garden games.  Those parts were popular.  Getting the Daisies to sit still to plan their investiture/re-dedication ceremony and listen to part of the garden story was a tad more challenging.  The new silly bands fad was not a help in this.  It was fun, though.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Orientations: Check. Nurse-Stalking: Complete

Okay - I've attended orientations at both children's new schools, bought millions of required items, turned in all kinds of paperwork, stalked the nurse at the Lone Star Girl's school for a week and a half until finally catching up with her and delivering the school cache of emergency medication today - the youngest has begun school and the eldest starts Monday.  We are prepared.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Grade!

Wednesday was the first day of first grade and the Lone Star Baby's first day at her brand new school!  She liked it - she said she had a great day.  We went out to dinner to celebrate after we picked her up from after-school care.   She was not very thrilled, after being used to summer days, at how little time she had to play at home afterward, but she gave school a 10 out of 10.  My baby is growing up!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Plaid Dresses

I believe it all began when the Lone Star Girl was quite small and I read (for myself, not to her) The Facts And Fictions of Minna Pratt, a lovely children's novel that includes one small detail of a girl measuring her years by the plaid dresses hanging in her closet - one for each first day of school.  I decided then that my little girl would always have a plaid dress on the first day of each new school year, and later that my two girls would.  Preferably, but not necessarily, red (a fine red tartan is the only plaid that really counts in my opinion, although a really spectacular green and blue tartan can be nice sometimes, like on a moor, but not at school). 

Did you know that to this day Burlington Coat Factory carries red plaid dresses almost every year even when no other stores are doing so?  I don't know if they share our passion for red-plaid-first-day-of-school-dresses or if it is pure chance, but they do.

Middle school rather interrupted our tradition as the Lone Star Girl was required to wear a uniform of sorts, and I was sometimes lax during those middle school years about keeping the tradition for the Lone Star Baby as well, as there were times when it wasn't easy to find school-y clothes for her due to her decidedly preschool-y size. 

This school year, though, as the Lone Star Baby heads off to a new school in the middle of next week, leaving behind the school she has attended since she was eighteen months old, and the Lone Star Girl heads off to high school ... the plaid dresses are so, so back. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Last Day of Swimming Lessons July 2010 - Splash!

Fracking: Not Just A Made-Up Curse Word on Battlestar Galactica

Fracking (or hydraulic fracturing) is the use of more than a million gallons of water, pumped underground, to fracture underground rock formations and release natural gas.  There's a lot of fracking going on in the Barnet Shale area around Fort Worth and it's causing some big problems.  We're not entirely sure what's in the water being used as it is apparently a "trade secret" but we know that, after being used to frack, it can never be potable again.  It cannot even be used for future fracking jobs and that is a big problem because we are talking about a lot of water.  

And Texas kind of needs water.  

Plus there's the matter of fracking being linked to contaminated drinking water and earthquakes.  And there are eminent domain issues.  Seems a little scary.  A blogger going by the handle txsharon seems to be leading the charge in getting the word out on this issue and Jeff Weems, the Democratic candidate for Texas Railroad Commissioner (a position that deals with oil and gas, not railroads) has some concerns about how it is being regulated.  We need to keep our eyes on this.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Forever Green

The Lone Star Girl has been having Girl Scout dreams - like about when it is Zombie Apocalypse Time and she is running and hiding from zombies when the Girl Scout camp ranger pulls up in a truck and tells her to get in and takes her to the Girl Scout camp where the Girl Scout staff and other Girl Scouts are hiding out.  She said the adults went foraging for food sometimes and they made the girls do "algebra and stuff" so they wouldn't be behind when the zombies were defeated.  Our motto is "Be Prepared", after all. 

She also says she wants to get a Girl Scout trefoil tattoo someday.  Maybe after she earns her Gold Award.

And she wants me (not going to happen) to skip  First Day School during cookie season so we can have more booth sales.

Think she's into this stuff?