Friday, June 17, 2011

First Week of Summer Camps for the Little Princess a Success!

We hit the jackpot this week with the Little One's summer camps. Her morning camp this week was Write On! Workshop -- a creative writing camp held at Westminster College that was absolutely fabulous. There were visits from published authors; kids got to sign up for different writing "clubs" each day, like Fantasy Club, Newspaper Club, Songwriters Club, Vocabulary Club. A daily reward was offered to kids who wrote 20 minutes each night at home. The Little Princess wrote quite prolifically, did quality work, and stretched her abilities. Sadly this is the only week this summer that the camp is offered. Since this was the 5th year of this camp, it's likely to be offered again next summer.

I'm equally pleased with the Little One's afternoon camp this week: "Science Mix" at the Utah Museum of Natural History. I can't believe how many cool things these 2nd & 3rd graders got to do in one short week of half days. They visited the electron microscope on the U's campus, dissected owl pellets, made slime, learned about weather -- but the most impressive thing was the little vial with her DNA in it which was created by using some kind of mouthwash and mixing the results with dish soap and other substances. There are still some camps at the museum for various age groups with openings, and I feel like they are a valuable learning experience and well worth participating in. The camps offered at the museum can be found here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Always looking for quality

I get frustrated at what is offered to kids in the form of entertainment. Most movies and TV shows are more about selling other products than providing good quality children's entertainment. Many are thrown together, poorly made, and cater to the lowest common denominator.

After seeing a couple of Sundance screenings this year, I thought how cool it would be if the kind of care and quality that goes into the majority of independent films could also be done with children's film. I see nothing wrong with my kids watching films that challenge them to think, shows things in new ways, that inspires their creativity or compassion. I'm tired of kid flicks that treat children as either consuming machines, simple-minded or both.

Since film festivals like Sundance do not rate the films, it's difficult to know if any are appropriate for my teen or child. And the Broadway and Tower theatres rarely show films below a PG-13 rating, with most probably rated R. I've been studying the offerings at Netflicks in the children and families section, hoping to find good stuff and am having some difficulty.

Ah well . . . the quest continues.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Salt Lake City Birthday Party

I admit it -- I'm starting to think of anything past 2100 South as "The Boonies". In trying to find birthday part options for my soon to be 5 year old, I keep hitting a wall. The idea of planning a party in Sandy or West Valley where many of the party venues seems to be overly arduous.

I like venues on the Trax line the best. Discovery Gateway, Clark Planetarium and the Utah Museum of Natural History are all easily reached by Trax and are all great choices if you are looking for something a little bit deeper than a "bounce house" party.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Family Art Saturdays at the Salt Lake ART Center

I was excited when looking at a Salt Lake ART Center newsletter a couple of months ago to learn that the center was going to start a "Family Art Saturdays". I'm always looking for experiences to give my pre-schooler that we can get to easily. The Little Princess loves to make art, so art events that kids can participate to are always a good thing for us.

We got a preview of the center's upcoming exhibition as well as a couple of other exhibits, then we headed to a room toward the back of the center where the Little Princess got to make paper flowers and draw. The event is blocked for a 2 hour time limit as a drop in kind of thing, but we spent practically the whole 2 hours there. For the next hour following, the Little Princess enthused about turning our house into an art gallery. As soon as we got home she was clamoring for me to get down her water colors so she could get started.

The Family Art Saturdays will be a monthly event and best of all, they are free! The next few scheduled: November 8, 2 - 4pm; December 13, 2 - 4pm and January 10, 2 - 4pm. Moew info about Family Art Saturdays can be found here:

The Salt Lake ART Center is conveniently located at just a short quarter block walk from the Temple Square Trax station, and half the fun is taking Trax to downtown, in any case.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My reactions to the letter I posted below

What I object to in the letter below is very loaded language: pro-abortion - I've never met anyone who was pro-abortion. I think she is referring to pro-choice which is about having options (my definition of what progressives are for) and not being forced into one way of doing things.

I also can't quite figure out what she means by pro-psycho wife and pro-exercise queen which seem like very judgmental statements. I consider myself progressive, but the only exercise I get in is the walk to and from work everyday. As a working mom I don't have time to exercise. And I consider myself pretty stable mentally as a wife . . .

I also have a problem with her language about "letting others raise their kids". That's kind of ignoring the fact that for most of human history children were raised more by community than just biological mom to biological kids, and were put to work at very young ages.

Economically, I have to work. Ideologically, I like to work -- at least the job I have currently. With both daughters I stayed at home until each was about 2 years old. I felt that was a good compromise by giving the girls lots of attention as infants and then as they got to an age when they wanted to be more social they were in an environment with a lot of kids their own age.

By the end of the second year home with my now pre-schooler, I was ready to tear out my hair because being a SAHM really isn't my talent or calling in life. But even though I enjoy what I do for a living and would be unhappy at home, I still put my kids' needs as a priority:

My oldest attends a school where the parents are required to co-op 3 hours per week and serve on a committee. I put together the school's newsletter as well as my time in the classroom, putting in easily 18 - 20 hours per month so that my daughter can attend a school that is very community oriented and nurturing.

I went to great lengths to find a daycare for my youngest daughter that was close to home. We spend quality time in the morning and evening as we walk to and from daycare talking about what we are seeing (changing seasons, dogs, insects, people) and about her day. Her daycare is a good one and she gets good learning in the morning (she's learning to write really well, is learning some French and Spanish) and in the afternoon gets quality social time with peers which I couldn't provide for her at home.

We always eat dinner together as a family, which is a great way to spend quality time with the kids talking about our days.

The weekends are all about quality time with the kids (my teenager not so much these days as friends are her main focus at this stage of her life). I take my pre-schooler on a mommy-daughter date where we usually go to cultural, artistic, or educational events or use our memberships at the planetarium or children's museum. The rest of the weekend is pretty much whole-family focused.

I don't feel that my kids suffer from my being a working parent. What does suffer is the state of our home. We're always behind on laundry and dishes. Dusting happens maybe twice a year, and other household chores happen less often than they should. I've yet to do anything with our front yard and wonder if I'll ever learn to garden. I'm years behind on scrapbooking (one of my favorite hobbies). But these are a trade-offs that I can live with (for the most part - I really want to learn how to grow my own food so that I'm not so dependent on our environmentally-destructive food system).

Friday, October 3, 2008

Can we please be done with the Mommy Wars?

I guess I live kind of a sheltered existence -- I thought we were done with the "Mommy Wars". But apparently it's still on as evidenced by this recent letter to Salt Lake City Weekly:

Why do women who are OK with abortion, who are OK with letting others raise their children and who are OK in working 40-plus hours a week outside the home call themselves “progressive?” What is so progressive about that [“Palin-Powered Females,” Sept. 18, City Weekly]?


I have been a rocker, I’ve been a businesswoman, I’ve been an intellectual. And nothing is better than being “just a stroller-pushing momma.” “Progressive women” seem to want normal women to feel like poop for doing what comes naturally. They want normal women to be pro-abortion, pro-working mom, pro-psycho wife and pro-exercise queen! Why? Why can’t I be incredibly happy being a housewife and mother? Why is it odd for me to be pro-Hillary and pro-Sarah? They are both women.

Progressive women! You may see that many women who feel like me will not make their opinions known. You may wonder why. Because they are doing what their hearts desire, and doing what comes natural to them: loving their husbands, loving their children, loving their lives! With all of that good ol’ lovin’, how can that not be progressive?
I think this individual has been listening to too much hate radio -- she's got a lot of weird ideas about what she calls "progressive women".

I might be writing back to City Weekly on this one.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Spin Machine is now working for High Fructose Corn Syrup

In these Orwellian Times, I'm glad I don't watch T.V. -- War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength, and now . . .High Fructose Corn Syrup is not bad for you.

The cynical conceit of these ads are that if you can’t recall at a moment’s notice, all, or any, of the reasons something is negative or undesirable, then your concerns are wholly irrelevant, and you should just shut your mouth, and only open it to receive a generous serving of high-fructose corn syrup. The logic behind these ads assert that because high-fructose corn syrup is “natural,” as it is derived from corn, then it is wholesome and safe, much like natural radon gas, lead and tobacco.


Facts: High-fructose corn syrup is a sweetener produced by processing cornstarch to yield glucose, and then processing the glucose to produce a high percentage of fructose. It is primarily used as a preservative and sweetener in a multitude of food products. You should avoid it because of the following:

1. High-fructose corn syrup has been linked directly to obesity, diabetes and metabolic dysfunction.
2. High-fructose corn syrup elevates triglycerides levels, which can lead to heart disease.
3. High-fructose corn syrup is simply empty calories with no nutritional value whatsoever.
4. The environmental footprint of high-fructose corn syrup is exceedingly large.
5. High-fructose corn syrup is the hellion child of the corn lobby’s satanic forces.

OK, so the fifth one might not be totally accurate, but it does drive the point home. And for extra credit you could mention that consuming high-fructose corn syrup in moderation is becoming near impossible, seeing as nearly everything from sliced bread to salad dressing now proudly contains the ubiquitous ingredient.