Monday, August 27, 2012

The PICK FROM TWO System for Back-to-School

These delicious, healthy morsels
would not make the cut if the kids
selected all their favorites
for their school lunch.
As we adapt to the new school-year routine, we are inundated with advice from experts. Well, I’m no expert, but I do have some experience-inspired words of warning regarding what at least one journalist provided as options for your child’s lunch.

The article I read while sipping coffee and signing reams of back-to-school paperwork began by suggesting you allow your child to make some decisions regarding the foods that should be packed in his lunch. What the article did not provide was guidance on how to involve the child in the decision-making process. But it is important to handle such things delicately, lest you unleash the untamed and lose control as a parent.

Unless your child has a basic understanding nutrition, human biology, and is already a skilled decision-maker, please DO NOT simply ask the child the open-ended question, “What would you like in your lunch?” It is also critical that you do not ask for input while at the grocery store. By avoiding these two pitfalls, you avoid your child heading to school with steak flavored chips, cream-filled doughnuts, several toaster pastries, and a Red Bull for lunch. Unless your goal is to make your dentist and pediatrician wealthy, while at the same time driving some poor teacher into early retirement, it is imperative you retain control over what your child eats.

It is a good idea to involve your child in the decision-making process. However, this can be done without the child actually selecting the foods. Here’s how:
1. Without the child’s input, purchase healthy lunch foods.
2. Ask the child to select one of two similar items.
Example A: “Would you like grapes or an apple in your lunch today?”
Example B: “Would you like Swiss cheese or provolone on your sandwich?
This is what I like to call the PICK FROM TWO system. By controlling and limiting choices, you get to control and limit what your child eats while still allowing an opportunity for decision-making by the child.

Worried your child trade his carrots for a cupcake? Put yourself in the other child’s shoes and fear not. Your child’s classmates are highly unlikely to give up a cupcake for some carrot sticks.

The PICK FROM TWO system works for getting dressed on a school morning, as well. It is perfectly acceptable to lay out two shirts and ask the child to select on or the other. What you don’t want to do is let the child come up with his or her own outfit for the sake of giving him creative expression opportunities. Let the child express creativity on the weekend or after school. But on school mornings, maintain control. A child won’t dress for weather or appropriateness on his own.

You must control your child’s wardrobe while you can, as that is how your child learns to dress. Children don’t come into the world knowing what to wear, when, and with what. It’s best they learn from you. Unless, that is, you simply love the way other kids at school, people on TV and in movies, and characters in video games dress and you are hoping your child will emulate such fashions. If, however, you prefer a more modest, practical approach to dressing, employ PICK FROM TWO and manage your family’s fashion. I truly believe schools would not need dress codes if more parents used dressing for school as a learning opportunity.

I have more experience-inspired words of warning directly relating to the food items on the list of suggestions from the article, but I wrote so much on choices that I will have to cover “Foods to Avoid in the Brown Bag School Lunch” in my next blog.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, writer, and content strategist is the author of Thurston T. Turtle books.
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Read Navigating Hectivity
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Friday, August 10, 2012

Random Friday Thoughts of the Beach

Sunset on the beach, Oak Island, NC.
Add 'photographer' to my list of hobbies.
After a week hanging out with two of our three boys, Ma and Hubby at the beach, the thoughts swirling in my mind are all annual beach vacation-related. Not that we take a week-long vacation at the beach each year.

It’s actually been nearly a decade since we’ve done it. However, after this year, I feel like we need to make it an annual thing. 


The best part of the week was hanging out, rafting, swimming and talking with our teens. They tried to tell me a classic raft was much better for body surfing than a boogie board, but I had to learn on my own. They chided me for letting the schools of fish freak me out, but eventually, in the spirit of hanging out with the boys, I made peace with the fact that I was swimming in nature’s aquarium.
Getting up to walk our dog on the beach was difficult, it being our vacation. But if we didn’t have to crawl out of bed early and throw clothes on for a morning walk with little Annie, we would have missed seeing the majestic pod of dolphins flipping and playing near the breakers. In the water sparkling under the barely-risen sun, the dolphin play was magical—it was as if we were walking in a dream.
We take to the mini-links
like some take to Pinehurst No. 2.
It was also interesting to learn how talented my mother is at the game of putt putt. For someone, “just having fun,” she sure sunk a lot of holes in one. Of course, the boys tied for first place, forcing a playoff. And against all odds—at least, in the mind of our 19-year-old—our youngest came out on top by one stroke. 

You can be sure we will be making reservations for next summer before school starts. If for nothing else, to ensure our middle child has the opportunity to challenge his baby brother to a rematch.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, writer and content manager is the author of Thurston T. Turtle books.
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Visit Micki’s website: http://www.inspiredscribe.com
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
Read Navigating Hectivity
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY READING:
The Writer Paints...with Glue & Paper
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Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Writer Paints...with Glue & Paper

There are lots of artists in our family and I am not one of them. At least, I wasn't until one evening last week. That's when I ventured out of the security of my personal box and attended an art class with my mom. Ma, as she is affectionately known by my generation, is one of the artists in the family. She can sketch, paint, and create original cloth dolls. She can knit and crochet. She can do most anything that warrants a creative flair.
As one of our family's creatives, Ma attends many art classes in town. Some of her pieces are framed and displayed on her walls and some become gifts for others.
Since the classes are step-by-step sessions for which anyone can participate and leave with a personal masterpiece, I decided to sign up. I was particularly interested in the wine and grape motif. The fact that most of it would be created with paper and glue was intimidating, but I really wanted to create something of my own for display in our dining room. So I met Ma downtown after work and we went to class.
The first step was to use four acrylic colors and paint the background. The background appeared to be two colors, so I assumed we were to do some blending with our sponge brushes to get the desired background. Likening it to finger painting, I began swirling my sponge brush in the blobs of color and swiping it methodically across my canvas.

Painting the background with acrylic on canvas.
I must have done something right,
because here is my canvas, sitting on the easel,
after I finished painting the background.
As our canvases dried, our instructor reviewed the papering process. We each had a bag of fiber paper scraps. We were to rip and tear the scraps to create smaller pieces and specific shapes. We then would brush watered down glue onto the canvas, place the scrap of paper onto the canvaswhich was similar to tissue paper, but more fibrous and texturedand then brush more glue over the paper. We could use the glue brush to manipulate the paper once it was on the canvas. Layering colors would give us blended colors and interesting textures. If we didn't like the way a piece of paper looked once added to the canvas, we could lift it off and place a different piece of paper in its place.

Note we clearly did a little "cheating"
by tracing the bottle and wine glass with
chalk before gluing the paper.
The process, while somewhat painstaking, was extremely relaxing. I would absolutely recommend the project as well as do another. Admittedly, the grapes were much more difficult to create than the bottle or even the wine glass. My great idea for creating swirly vine-like sprigs shooting out from underneath the grapes was more difficult in reality than when I initially pictured doing it in my head. But then, that's pretty much par for the course that is my general reality. Great ideas, frustrating processes, and, more often than not, impressive results. Of course, for this particular project, it didn't hurt that Ma and I were sharing a bottle of wine.
 

This is the "finished" product I left
at the studio to dry and be sprayed
with some kind of shiny sealing agent.
I look forward to hanging my masterpiece in our dining room. If you can tell me which direction the "light" is coming from in the picture, then (1) I will be really impressed with your artistic eye and (2) I will be extremely impressed with my formally latent artistic abilities. Maybe I did get a little bit of the artistic gene after all.

[Editorial note: Ma's paper and glue painting was strategically not included in this blog, so as to further convince readers I have some ability. When compared to other family members, especially Ma, my projects still have a juvenile appearance, which, during elementary school, seemed impressive, but are less than polished in my later years.]

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Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, writer and content manager is the author of Thurston T. Turtle books.
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Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Visit Micki’s website: http://www.inspiredscribe.com
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
Read Navigating Hectivity
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