Monday, February 28, 2011

Winter blues

By the end of February I am always ready for spring and nicer weather and grass. I don't mind winters and only complain when it is really really cold. I been trying to get the kids out a lot this winter by taking them on outings and hikes and to an all weather playgroup. Unfortunately even with much experimenting on keeping them warm the kids have not been embracing the cold. I dress them in many layers of fleece and wool, the have warm coats, gloves, hats and boots and I even began putting hand warmers in their gloves and socks. On the warmer days they do ok for a little but don't do much playing but on the cold days Teddy complains and makes me hold him and Delia won't warm up to people and play either. Sometimes she enjoys sledding and she will hike but even the good hikes have some whining. I hope they will begin to embrace winters. I will try again next year. I wish they would run around and play in the brisk air and enjoy it like many of the kids do. Delia does enjoy playing outside at school but Teddy's moodiness and the fact that most kids are younger usually keeps her from playing much. At least Cora doesn't mind.

I don't mind winter and like coming in to warm up the snow and the sledding. There are plenty of indoor things to do in Anchorage. I am so ready for spring and to not have to dress in tons of layers and change kids into heavy gear in the back of the car. 

Crabapples

Yesterday a member of the local food challenge group posted an event to forage for crabapples that were on trees on the campus. While they are frozen you can shake the tree with minimal bruising to the crabapples. They are smaller in the winter but you can still eat them and use them for apple butter, apples sauce and jelly. As long as they frozen before processing they are good. They begin to ferment when they have too long to warm up. 4 of us showed up in the early morning with tarps and buckets. Security guards were watching us during some of it and didn't care. We all got a bucket full and will meet soon to process them. They are sitting outside right now frozen and I will sort through so I can freeze them in the freezer until they are ready.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Local Food Challange

I will be writing a lot about a local food challenge I will be starting this summer. I was a vegetarian for a few years and now eat fish and would eat game meat if we had any. Food is one area that I need to improve in despite that. I am a terrible cook and rely on processed food which I have no problems with in moderation. Living in Alaska not much of my diet is local. It is an area I would like to improve in so I was excited to meet people who were part of a local food challenge.

I'm hoping to improve on the gardening this summer and increase our vegetable crop from that.  I know there is local barley and I heard there are some oats and possibly wheat too. I want to improve the garden and forage for berries and mushrooms. The past few years I dragged my friend on berry picking adventures with not much luck but this year I am determined to get lots of berries. I know there are lots of crab apples in town and some bigger apple varieties you can pick. I also would like to grow micro green sprouts. I eventually like a greenhouse for pumpkins, tomatoes and peppers.

We go dip netting every year and get lots of red salmon from that. We are on a list for moose that get killed on the road. I wouldn't mind hunting but we never did it and don't know people who do. I don't think I could do it and Mike has never hunted before.

I would eventually want to get chickens for eggs and would love to get a goat but I don't know if that is allowed. We have local milk and eggs.

I found some good barley flour recipes through the cooperative extension. They had recipes for breads, noodles, crackers, brownies and cookies They also have info on making yogurt and fruit leather. Some people are looking into getting sugar beet seeds and making sugar from that.

I don't know if I will be able to have a mostly Alaskan diet by this summer but I am going to work towards it. In the meantime I am enjoying convenience foods and trying to think of ways to get close to some of the food we eat locally on the cheap.

An outing gone well

Today we went back to park and play and met Teddy's therapists. His therapist said we would work on his play skills. He actually ended up doing great and didn't even get aggresive when another kid took a toy he was playing with and he played next to a smaller kid with no incidents. I like to think it is all the hard work with him paying off ; )

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Teddy quotes

Now that Teddy is talking more he comes up with pretty funny things at times. Right now Teddy is still having trouble making a lot of sounds. A lot of the sounds he is missing can take a while for kids to pick up but it is funny to see the things he comes up with to get around that. Below is some of the funny stuff he says so I can remember his funny pronounciations and sayings.

When Sammy started eating something he dropped
T: No animal! Bad girl

Teddy What is your name?
Airpane
Edon

Teddy how old are you?
T: Me boy

Teddy where is your ...?
In the water

Teddy what color is your....?
Purple no yeyo

When I told Delia she could go swimming because someone in the earlier class pooped. I heard Teddy pipe up later on the ride home
E pooped in the water.

Delia what letter is that?
T: EIO

Funny prounociations
Coca = Cora
anoa bar = granola bar
water = milk
Colia = Delia
I E= Ice pop
unnies= undies

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

If at first you don't suceed

I have been trying outings again with the kids even after the bad attempts I wrote about. I had some outings that went ok with only a little bit of crying or fussing out of one kid and the others in good moods. This week our outings haven't gone so well. Yesterday we went to value village for their 50% off sale. We had to leave early because Teddy hit and tackled a friend's daughter. I put him in the cart and away from the toy he hit over and he threw a screaming fit over not playing with a "airplane". When he didn't calm down I headed to the register to pay. An older lady give a nasty look and muttered under her breath about me not controlling my child. He screamed the whole time checking out and most of the car ride about an airplane toy.

Today we tried for the outdoor playgroup. It was cold but it was just down the street and the kids were up early. I put hand warmers in their gloves and bundled them all in layers. Delia started complaining about not going sledding and started screaming. I gave her a minute in the car to calm down. Teddy whined the whole time and wanted me to hold him. Delia sat in the sled not playing then started crying about her legs. So much for an all weather playgroup. They were dressed warm in many layers of fleece and wool from their head to their toes but they didn't play at all. A lot of our attemps at playing outside when it is cold end like this. Teddy seems extra sensitive to cold and the kids are younger than Delia and she takes a while to warm to big crowds. She will play with Teddy but he doesn't like being bundled or his face being cold. I wish they would embrace the cold and play. Maybe next winter will go better.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

School

Today a local radio program about kids did an event about schools in Anchorage. They had a taping you could listen in on and you could go talk to representatives from a couple schools. They had free childcare. I got to talk to a few schools including two of the charter or alternative schools, a montessori school that has an excellent preschool program and a religous school that has an affordable preschool option. We listened to some of the radio talk once the kids got over the car ride grogginess. The cut off for kindergarten in Anchorage is August 30 so Delia misses the cut off with a September birthday.

I looked up the montessori school online. I knew it was one of the more expensive options but it is way out of our price range. The other school had a similar philosphy to Delia's current preschool and the teachers seemed nice but the application asked where we go to church so thats not an option either.

I have been researching the charter options in Anchorage and there are 6 or 7 schools I like that have really good test scores and good philosophies. You get into them by a lottery system where they draw names out of a hat. I figure if I enter all the lotteries I get into at least one. My favorite school has a 10 on great schools and has child based learning. Another one is a language immersion program. These schools have less peer pressure and since parents have to seek them out they tend to have better parental involvement. They all have at least a 8 out of 10 based on test scores. They all make learning fun and they are free for 5  full days.

At Delia's current preschool we will only be able to send her 2 or 3 days depending on if Teddy goes or not and she won't learn as much. Delia meets the kindergarten readiness skills. I'm so annoyed she can't go. Studies show that for kids that don't have disabilities that being the youngest doesn't hurt them as far as test scores go. She will be nearly 19 when she graduates and starts college. I think she would be fine to go to kindergarten. She isn't so ahead that she would qualify for an earlier admission. I can't find Anchorage specific information but the general stuff I found says the child has to be exceptionally advanced and have an IQ of at least 130. Sigh.

I think I will homeschool Delia for kindergarten and I'll send her to preschool for 2 days for social stuff. If we can somehow afford to we might send Teddy too because I think he will benefit from the social aspect of it. I going to do the funnix reading program with her and find a math program and then let her pick what she learns about. I'll have to work on her writing because that is her weak area. I think she is ready to learn kindergarten stuff and this way she can have an option to maybe do 1st grade stuff when she goes to school in 2012. If only my kids could of been born a month or two earlier. All 3 of them just miss the cut off.