Thursday, December 29, 2005

American Compost Society Meeting

Mark your calendars! I know I have some composting readers out there.....right?

The next meeting of the American Compost Society will be Saturday, Jan. 7th at 9 AM at the Hamilton County Environmental Services Building at 250 Wm. Howard Taft.

Here is what John will be discussing:
I will share what I learned about recent compost research and how it can be useful to us backyard composters. I have some good tips on how to get better finished compost, interesting ways to test and not to test compost and ways to avoid nuisance fungi. There will also be numerous handouts.
We will also have a "hot bin" competition, so measure your bin temperature if you want to compete (In January anything over freezing might win.)
Come join the fun Jan 7th with fellow composters/gardeners.
Hope to see you there.

Welcome Editor

Starting January 1st, we will have a much needed editor at Stuntmom! Not only will she be editing my work, but will be contributing articles too. Our editor Rebecca comes to us from Rockland, Maine with a Masters degree in English. She currently stays home to watch her three young children ages 4, 2 and under one. Welcome Rebecca!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Quality of Life Continued again...

As we talk about quality of life while staying at home with the kids vs. working-today is the perfect example of why I would be so torn if I was working. It's the middle of the winter here in Cincinnati and can you believe the girls and I took a long walk to the park, ate a picnic lunch, played outside, and then headed home for naps? As we packed our picnic, one would have thought we were packing for a day at the beach, they were so excited. We added our new Christmas bubbles to the sack, which was a nice reminder of summer. It would have been so hard to drop them off at daycare on such a beautiful day, knowing how much they wanted to be outside - or how much I wanted to be outside too. No coats, mittens and hats in December is reason enough to celebrate!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Quality of Life Continued....

Thank you readers for your comments on the last article. You are right though, there are some challenges to my new career that I didn't anticipate, or at least didn't think would bother me in the way they do. (see past articles on Staying Home Isn't What I Thought)

1. I feel like the stereo- typical stay at home mom that has nothing to offer conversationally at parties or at my husband work functions. Once someone asks me what I do, the conversation ends. No one wants to hear what my kids are doing these days (or I assume it's safe to say that since no one finds your kids as cute as you do, they don't want to hear details) I realize I should say, "oh, I'm the famous stuntmom that you all know and love"... but I don't. So I do find this hard since I loved talking about my job before I left. It was exciting and challenging and something new everyday. Sure, a lot of this is self imposed "boringness"- not many people want to hear what I've been reading, or what my views are on the war, they just want to know my earning potential.

2. I worry that I might not be setting a great example for my girl's career choices. What if they think being a woman is choosing the right husband- one that can provide financially? Not contributing to the bottom line of our bank account has altered my feeling of empowerment and self confidence. Hopefully this will change when I go back into the work force one day and my girls will be able to see the importance of a career and the need to put your family first. Until then, they will have to rely on my stories of when I was working.

3. Finances- it's obvious, but it's hard going from never needing to balance a check book to suddenly watching every dime. I have to admit though, this part we really needed. It's good to take the time to appreciate what you have, then evaluate with such thought everything that you consider buying. With this I really hope to teach the girls- to avoid the material world since we don't spend much time consuming anymore. I'm an advocate of saying to children that "we don't need that", rather than we can't afford that. This way they understand the choice to consume vs. the need.

4. I don't like to clean the house and I'm not organized. These are two things that should be looked into before quitting your job. While I was working I really thought my husband and I tried as best as possible to split the chores 50/50. With staying at home, I really feel like I need to do 95% of the housework now. I'm not too fond of this. Housework doesn't stop at 6:00- the typical end of the work day. So I feel like my days are a lot longer (although stress free for the most part).

Hopefully this is a more realistic view for my RTR friend. I feel like I was caught putting a positive spin on this choice I've made. Thanks and keep reading.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Quality of Life

I have a dedicated reader who has asked a few times if I would write about whether our quality of life has improved since I quit my job....

Wow, that is such a difficult question. I feel I should say "yes" and "absolutely" and be done with the question. But in reality, this has taken so much thought. I keep tossing the question to myself over and over, and I keep coming up with new answers. So below are the points I keep thinking, but obviously this is a question that would be answered so different by every family. I am not making any judgments about other people's choices, only mine/our own.

1. Our stressful mornings have come to an end. No longer do we have to wake up the kids to haul them off to daycare in the morning. I don't constantly say "hurry, hurry, hurry" like I used to. I was always so stressed out in the morning until they were safely at daycare. Now we have relaxing breakfasts as we plan out our day in our pajamas.

2. We have more time on the weekends. Saturday and Sunday are no longer devoted to grocery shopping, trips to the dry cleaners, and general errand running that we didn't have time to do during the week. We spend more time together as a family.

3. My husband now spends more time with the kids. Often by the weekend, I really need some alone time. I need to be able to read uninterrupted, or even clean without a mess being made at the same time while cleaning. So I'm not sure we can say this is a quality of life improvement that my husband can agree to, since he thinks sleeping in late is the ultimate in quality. But really, who sleeps in with two little kids in the house?

4. I no longer feel that I don't have enough time with my kids. In the past, I never wanted to be without them on the weekends since I just didn't get to see them enough. Now I'm able to visit with friends, go to bookclub, catch a movie or go on a walk without feeling like I'm missing out on my kid's life. So really, socially, my life has improved too.

5. We do eat better now. We eat out much less. Often we would be without fresh food in the house since we ran out of time for grocery shopping midweek. I also have more time to plan meals, so we eat more of a variety too.

6. I'm raising my kids to believe that money isn't the most important thing in life. Being good people is more important that earning a lot of money and I think I made this clear just by putting them before my income.

7. On the downside, they do watch TV now. I always thought people were crazy to let their kids be influenced by TV at an early age. But now I find that I turn on Sesame Street a few times a week so I can get things done. I know, I do feel so guilty about this, but sometimes I just need a break where I know they will be safe and glued to a chair. (I'm having trouble saying this in print since I almost go so far as to close the curtains when I turn it on.)

To be continued....

Friday, December 16, 2005

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Christmas Gift Ideas

Are you trying to teach your children, maybe even other family members to spend less time consuming and more time thinking? Here's a link to an article about such gifts that can be subliminally given this year at Christmas.

Be sure to check out for a free demo of the stock market game. It was written by some brilliant local Cincinnati folks!

Looking for a Job?

Stuntmom has come to the realization that she needs an editor. As I took on this blog project, I knew my writing wasn't award winning, but I'm finding it painful to go back through all of my posts to see the mistakes. I'm embarrassed how many readers also find the mistakes and point them out in their comments or in an email to me. (Which I do appreciate, really)

So here are the details of the job:

  • no pay, unless of course we hit the big time and get enough readers to make a profit
  • the freedom to submit articles at any point on any subject
  • Must possess the ability to see mistakes- this program does have spell check, when it works so good spelling is not a requirement (which those of you who know me, know I can't spell)
  • To keep the theme of the site, the writer should not have a full time job, unless you want to add in that perspective to the articles

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Do I Have More Time than I Did When I was Working?

I can now answer "yes". I was telling a friend awhile back that I had so much more time to get things done when I was working full time, and the kids were in daycare. But we have reached a milestone at home. My second daughter is now 18 months old, and is finally looking for a little independence from her mom. This is the biggest change so far since I've been staying at home. In the last few weeks, I've been finding that I don't spend all of my time carrying her around anymore. Infact, she even seems to be playing well with her big sister, most of the time. I can actually get some laundry done, vacuum, and even cook while she is awake. In the past, I couldn't get ANYTHING done with her awake since she needed my attention every moment of the day and evening. Things are looking up for this stay at home mom!

Getting My Child to Eat

As you know, I have had an issue getting my three year old to eat. Well, I believe it has come to an end. (Two meals down) I read an article written my one of the administrators at my daughter's preschool that had some brilliant suggestions. In the article, she suggested letting kids fill their own plates. This way, they don't feel overwhelmed by what the adult thinks she should be eating, and it gives them a sense of ownership to the meal. At the first try with this new approach, my daughter had three helpings of a pasta dish she would normally eat only a bite. At breakfast, due to the nature of the food, cereal with milk, she ate only a bite or two and declared she was done. At lunch today, she ate by far more than she would eat in a day since I placed the food on a tray an didn't give any opinion on what she should try. With this new approach, she tried everything, and had seconds again. Could we be onto something here? I'm not sure, but for the moment, it seems to be working.

Health Insurance for Self Employed Families

For a family that opts to have a parent stay at home to watch the kids, often health care costs are a big concern. What if the working parent is self employed? A stuntmom reader asked me to do a little research on this topic, so here goes part one...

I found this website that seems to cover the basics and more. I entered the information for my family of four, based on our ages and zip code, many plans came back in what I would figure to be affordable, some very reasonably priced for major medical. For a $2,500 deductible, 20% co-insurance, and a $25 office visit, our monthly premium would only be $318 a month.

I spoke to my sister about this, since I knew she paid a lot more, and she seemed skeptical. Currently she pays a monthly premium of $995.69 with an individual deductible of $1,450 and a maximum family deductible of $2,900. She does have three kids, vs. our two and lives in Maine. When I entered her zip code in the website, they were not able to offer me insurance, so I think this could be the contributing factor to why they pay more in Maine.

Another website to visit before making the insurance change is Families USA the voice for Health Care Consumers. This is a helpful resource for what is happening in Washington on the healthcare front.

If any readers have first hand experience with this topic, I welcome your comments and feedback. As I research more, I will continue to add additional posts on Healthcare options.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Getting Your Kids to Eat

I never thought I would have fussy eaters. I eat just about anything that is healthy (with the exception of the sweet tooth indulgence). My oldest would eat Indian food at 6 months, tofu- not a problem, any vegetable, bring it on. Then she turned three.... and the trouble began. Suddenly everything is a battle. She eats only on occasion, and basically eats pancakes and an occasional veggie dog. I keep thinking it's a stage, but it's been about 6 months now so I started sneaking healthy things into the few things she will eat. Silken soft Tofu is always blended into our smoothies, chopped up fine into Kraft Mac and Cheese (which I swore I would never feed my kids- but they need to eat, right?) I even throw peas into the Mac and Cheese which my husband finds downright dishonest (he is a VERY fussy eater so he sympathizes with the kids). I found this great article that justifies my madness. Nutrition is important for growing kids, so here are additional suggestions for getting them to eat healthy. Keep in mind, they pick up quickly on how their parents eat, so setting an example is number one.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Food Sites for Kids

New moms frequently ask for suggestions on what to feed their baby. I found this great site with vegetarian recipes for babies. I am not suggesting that everyone feed their kids a vegetarian diet. I just shudder to think that the majority of meat served to kids is so processed, they are better doing without. Check it our for some new ideas for mealtime. If anyone has any additional websites they can recommend, please post them in the comment section. Thanks. Check out the website at the bottom of the advertising called TryVeg. It's a great introduction to a vegetarian lifestyle.

Friday, November 04, 2005

And This is Why I Stay Home...

I have to be honest, there are many days when I question my choice to stay home with my kids, but today was a day that reminds me of how wonderful it is to spend so much time with my little ones. Squirrel Nut Pie, sitting watching the squirrels pig out on the nuts, Playground in great weather, an afternoon listening to NPR and cooking a birthday cake for a friend.

Could I have done all of this if I was working full time?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

What Shall We Do Today?

I finally ran into this question last week. It seemed like while I was working I always had so many ideas to entertain the kids, that I would never run out. Well, I ran out last week on a rainy day. I was panicked to think it was time to spend the day in front of the T.V., then I remembered a book my sister gave to me a few years ago. It's called Great Explorations by Amy Nolan from the Children's Museum of Boston. In the book there is a great recipe for homemade playdough that is as great as the store bought stuff. Here's the recipe:

1.5 cups flour
3/4 cup salt
1 TBSP cream of tartar
3 TBSP vegetable oil
1.5 cups water
food coloring (optional)

Mix the dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Stir.
Cook the ingredients on the stove over low heat stirring constantly until
the texture is like commercial playdough.
Store in a air tight container.

I don't believe you can purchase this book anywhere other than through the Children's Museum of Boston, so here is another possible book that come highly recommended from some friends. It's called the Toddler Busy Book. It looks to be very similar.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I Can Read

Every Tuesday morning at 10:00 the kids and I go to the Clifton Library for Story Time. The children's librarian is rather energetic and a great singer, so it is always worth the walk - rain or shine. Today we were pleasantly surprised by a guest speaker. A local author Annie Ruth came to share her new book I Can Read. Not only did she read, but she danced, sang and got everyone involved. It was a very dynamic hour that even kept the attention of my 16 month child. Annie Ruth passed out free copies of her book which she took the time to sign at the end of the hour. If you have a chance to see her again, it is worth the time. She will be at the Cincinnati public library through the month.

Nov 2- Westwood 10:30, Roselawn 4:00
Nov 3- Avondale 3:30
Nov 7- Sharonville 10:30
Nov 8- Northside 3:00
Nov 9- Bond Hill 9:30, Walnut Hills 3:30
Nov 10- Blue Ash 7:00pm

Click here for more info on Annie Ruth

Monday, October 24, 2005

International Adoption Stories

If you have ever thought of adoption, or know anyone who is interested? Check out this site. A friend of mine just started this website after adopting his daughter from China. It is truly comprehensive- I can't think of anything that could have been left off. It has a lot of links to hook you up with everything from decorating the nursery to what you should pack on your trip to pick up your new gift of a child.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Advertising- Nothing in Life is Ever Free

As you can see, I finally figured out how to add advertising to my site- located semi discretely on the right hand side of the page. Feel free to click as often as you like since this will one day pay for hosting my web address.

Thanks from Stuntmom.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Don't Feel Like Cooking Tonight?

The Cincinnati Magazine just came out with their dining guide and stated that there is only one Vietnamese restaurant in Cincinnati located in Roselawn. I panicked thinking our local Clifton restaurant closed so soon! I've been meaning to try Cilantro Vietnamese Bistro located in Clifton across from Hughes highschool for well over a year. Today I stopped in with the girls and ordered a tofu soft veggie roll (Goi Cuon Chay) along with Vegetables in Lemongrass (Bun Rau Cai Sa ot) The noodles were cooked to perfection and the sauces were all very light and bursting with flavor. One great advantages to the restaurant is that there are plenty of meat and vegetarian dishes so I imagine we will eat there often before getting tired of the menu. The most expensive dish on the menu is $6.50, so it's cheap enough to try everything at least once. Another good sign- there were some Vietnamese customers eating at the bar.
Cilantro Vietnamese Bistro
2510 Clifton Ave., University Heights (opposite Hughes High School)
Open 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 4:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


This morning we scheduled a trip to the grocery store, but it was cancelled. How could I stop my cleaning frenzy when the girls are getting along so well? Instead, I organized their closets. What a peaceful feeling! In the past their drawers would host a variety of sizes. When my husband had the pleasure of getting them dressed, they would often shock the world with what they were wearing. An example is the time he put my three year old in "capri's" when really they were 3-6 month pants.

I know, the weather is absolutely amazing so what are we doing indoors? Really, later in the week we will feel great outside knowing the inside has some organization.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Here's the Line Up for the Week

While away last weekend my friends mentioned that they know some stay at home Mom's that never get around to cleaning their house, or cooking dinner. Why? It's because they devote all of their time to entertaining their kids. They agreed that this was an atrocity, that kids should see the work that goes into keeping a house in order. "Kids today don't understand a good work ethic from an early age since it's all just play, play, play". I was silently thinking during the discussion...

They were talking about me- I guess giving me some needed advice in a sweet way. Clearly (mainly to me), I spend a lot of time picking up after myself, the kids, and my husband too. But, really, do I ever get around to the cleaning part of my job? (Is it really my job?) It is so much easier to take the kids out of the house every day, whether it's to the zoo, museum, park, grocery store- "anywhere but home was the motto". Until today.

Monday is cleaning day. Sorry kids, I will read a story or two, assemble a quick lunch, but you must find the entertainment on your own. I still love you, but Mommy wants a clean house one day of the week.

Tuesday is still cleaning day (oh yes, it takes more than one day to clean a house that has been neglected for a few months). In the future we will take a quick break to go to story time at the library, so we don't get too stir crazy, but we must hurry back for a return of the clean freak. (colds prevented story time today)

Wednesday, relax in the clean house for a few moments- not too long or it will soon look messy like usual. Go grocery shopping.

Thursday- schedule a play date

Friday- Flexible play date or other fun activity

So this will be what's in store for the week. It's a scheduled life, which I swore we wouldn't lead, but maybe this will help with getting the house clean- who knows.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Highlands Nature Sanctuary

I sometimes wonder why I live in Ohio. It is far from the beauty and tranquility of the ocean or the mountains. The majority of rivers are polluted so they just seem to lack aesthetic interest to me. We have too many mosquito's to enjoy life outside for July and August- not to mention the humidity.

This weekend we got together with some friends and took the kids out into nature. We rented a place at the Highlands Nature Sanctuary. To read about the "hunting lodge" click here. It was an amazing place- lots of trails to hike with beauty one wouldn't expect from Ohio. I was surprised to see the trails so well maintained, and preserved- not to mention the impressive landscape. One of the really great things about the place was the passion of the people that have worked so hard to maintain the land. We were given an inspiring talk by the director (which is given to anyone planning to hike in the sanctuary), explaining how the land ended up in the hands of conservationists.

If you live in Ohio, this is a place you don't want to go another year without seeing. It's only 2 hours from downtown Cincinnati. To read more about the sanctuary click here

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Not all play groups are created equal. I promise.

I ran into a new reader of mine last week and she really got me thinking about playgroups. She is new to the "stay at home mom" life and she mentioned that she was invited to a play group. Although she didn't give me any of the details of why she was down on the play group, (trust me, I tried the get the dirt) she just stated that getting together with other stay at home parents just "wasn't her thing". I encouraged her to try again with a different group, and explained that they are all different. I get together with some moms, and we talk politics, how we can make this world a better place, and what we have been reading. But there are other moms that seem to talk only about their children, what they had for lunch, when they woke up, and how clean their house is. Although, I will admit, there are days when these are my favorite topics or the only things I have the energy to talk about, but really there is more to life than being the stereotypical stay at home mom.

So if one play group didn't work out, keep looking. There are so many out there, that really, one does have a choice.

One Less SUV

While reading this morning's headlines- (Wall Street Journal: Sales of SUV's fall sharply; Boston Herald: SUV Sales Running out of Gas; Globe and Mail: SUV sales Tank) we are reminded of Bob Lutz's comment made in April this year. Can we thank GM for helping get some of these huge vehicles off the road?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Got Bag?

Here's another idea from a reader at

I'm a dork. I save plastic grocery bags because there's no reason to get a new one every time I go to the store—it's wasteful. However, every time I go to the store, I forget to grab one from my drawer of many bags. When I come home, I add the new bag or three to the already full drawer. How can I stop this repetitive pattern of destructive behavior?

The solution is simple. I designed a visually stark but effective [and clever] sign to tape to the back of my door. Now, when I leave for the store, I'll be reminded not only that I need to go back and get a plastic bag, but also that I'm a dork.

Click here to get to his site, or to download his cleaver sign.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Child Bike Trailers for Three?

One reader asked about cycling with 3 children. It is possible, but I need to work out the logistics myself before becoming an advocate, but wouldn't just an old fashioned bike seat work for a younger child? The bike seat would be attached to the same bike that is pulling the trailer.

Here is another solution for cycling with your children. Great for older kids since they get the experience of balance. I've seen older children riding across Iowa on this type of bike seat. They seem to like it and they also have a great feeling of accomplishment.

Buy My Book

Well, really, it's not my book, but I like the name.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Keep Those Bags Away From Me

I freak out every time I go to Kroger without planning on the trip. The reason I get so worked up is not over my lack of grocery list, or plan for what to buy, it's usually that I forgot to put my bags in the car. What do I mean by bags? I have a whole assortment of cloth bags and a few paper bags that I try to bring with me every time I go to the grocery store.

Kroger seems to be the worst at getting rid of their plastic and burdening them on me. I have counted the bags, and one trip alone, I left the store with 50 plastic bags, no exaggeration. Here's how they add up: My eggs usually leave the store in two or three bags, without a single additional item added in the bag. Same thing with my bread- each loaf in a bag or two by itself. I figure it's their way of saying "it didn't get damaged by the bagger, it must have happened when you loaded up your car". Or maybe they think we will say, "wow, look how many bags of groceries I got for my money, I'm really saving big at Kroger".

There is no way on earth I can use all of the plastic bags again. Sure I use them to pick up dog poop, or as plastic liners in the kitchen garbage can, and even to contain a soilded diaper when we are on the road. But there is no way I can use 50 by my next shopping trip.

So this is why I keep so many cloth bags in my car. In fact, my whole family or at least most of my sisters and parents does the same thing. I knew I was making a difference when my daughter of 3 said to the sales clerk, while out with my mother in law (who doesn't believe in recycling) "oh, we don't need a bag" . So maybe slowly it will rub off on everyone slowly, but it needs to start at home.

Here's a cleaver idea for when you are out and about and forget to bring a bag with you.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Vote No- Save the Organic Industry

From Jer:

After 35 years of hard work, the U.S. organic community has built up a multi-billion dollar alternative to industrial agriculture, based upon strict organic standards and organic community control over modification to these standards. Now, large corporations such as Kraft, Wal-Mart, & Dean Foods--aided and abetted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are moving to lower organic standards by allowing a Bush appointee to create a list of synthetic ingredients that would be allowed in organic production. Whether you buy organic products or not, this attempt by corp-agriculture is designed to give them greater control of what is offered in stores. The definitions of what is organic in no way affect commercial produce.

I ask that you take the time to call your senators and ask them to vote "No" on the "rider" to the 2006 Agriculture Appropriations Bill.

You can find your senators here:

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Another Make Your Own Idea

Here's a great idea that I found to entertain your cats, along with a project for your children to help with.

Make your own Kitty Condo.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Make Your Own Diaper Wipes

Save time and Money! Make your own wipe without using harsh chemicals and fragrance found in commercial diaper wipes.

Here's the recipe from my sister

One roll of Viva paper towels (must be single-ply towels)
2 cups of hot water
2 TBSP of Olive Oil
1 TBSP Dr Bronner's Pure Castile Soap (I use peppermint, others like lavender)

Cut in the paper towels in half using a saw like knife (or a saw)
Mix all of the other ingredients in a tupperware container. Place the smooth side of the papertowels into the bowl. Once soaked, flip over to wet the other side.
Seal with the lid, and you have the softest, diaper wipes on the planet.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Dream Job: Stay-at-Home Mom

So it really can be a dream job. For instance, today was a remarkable day. The girls played together all morning without fighting, so I was able to prepare my gourmet meal for dinner tonight. I baked Eggplant enchiladas' s out of the Moosewood cookbook! I even cleaned the kitchen before the girls woke up.

Read here for an interesting article about the dream job of staying at home.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Exercising with Two Kids in Tow

I was determined to continue to exercise as a stay at home mom, without having to join a gym.

I remember my stay at home dad friend mentioning that he does yoga with his two girls, and they all get a little exercise together this way. So on occasion, I too give it a try, but find yoga videos with the girls a little frustrating at the present life stages for the one year old. All she wants to do is climb all over me while I lie on the floor, so I think the yoga gig is going to have to wait a few more months.

My new solution- bike riding. I load up the car the night before we head out, so I don't back out of it due to the hassle of organizing the trip with two kids hanging on me at every moment. I purchased one of those amazing bike trailers that seats two kids. With this attached to the back of my bike, not only am I getting a great work out, but it entertains the kids for awhile too.

I load the trailer up with a few toys that they don't historically fight over, along with frozen juice boxes, and a few snacks such as raisins and trail mix. All loaded up, we are good for about a 10 mile ride.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Without a Drop

We woke up this morning without a drop of water in our pipes. My husband had to leave the house for work without a shower. Luckily I filled the coffee maker with water the night before, so we were able to function at some level.

So what do you do without water? The good news is that one has an excuse not to clean the house. How can you clean without water? Laundry- not today thanks. Dishes, no way.

So the fun began. The three of us set out on a walk to look at the bulldozers and jack hammers. We asked the water workers if they had an estimated completion time, for which they said a few hours. With that said, it became a celebration day.

Unshowered (which I told my friend Karen, was something I would never let happen as a stay at home mom- I really don't want to look like a soap opera, junk food eating mom) But today, the whole neighborhood was without a shower, so I thought it was acceptable.

After the walk around the block, we went back for the bike and stroller, and took another ride around the block. After that, we rode the bike and stroller up to Graeters to celebrate a day without water with generally forbidden doughnuts. We took the treats, along with sippy cups of milk to the public water fountain at the center of the neighborhood and ate our sweets while we watched the water splash out of the sculpture. After we finished, we washed our hands in the fountain, rode the bikes/stroller back- all in time to return for my one year old child's morning nap.

Out of the Funk

I heard from my one dedicated reader that I haven't updated Stuntmom in awhile. For this, I apologize. I've been in a bit of a Funk with my new career choice. I expected this to happen, but I really didn't expect it so soon. I figured over the winter some sort of panic over the big life change would happen, but here I was in the middle of the summer with a feeling of gloom. I was having a little trouble doing anything social, or even motivating the family to do anything fun. I requested my husband to start planning a few activities over the weekend, so I wasn't responsible for motivating the troops to leave the house 7 days a week. Hopefully this coming weekend will be filled with new activities that I don't have to agonize over planning.

I think I'm snapping out of it, due to the social engagements I have planned over the next few days. We'll have to see, I'll keep you posted.

Monday, August 01, 2005

City Bus!

One interesting thing my daughter picked up from daycare was this top of her lungs scream whenever a city bus passes. "CITY BUSSSSSS!" Apparently they spent their time watching the buses go buy when they were out on their daily walks.

Yesterday we took a trip downtown on the city bus. All three of us one way at $1.50. Our goal was to visit the main library, eat a quick lunch down at the fountain, then hop back on the bus all before nap time.

Getting on the bus was a challenge with two kids, our GREAT stroller, lunches, diapers, change in hand, one year old other hand, and three year old wishing for me to hold her hand too, was a quick struggle, but we managed.

We got on the bus and the fun began. As we started up the bus stairs, a little old lady grabbed my oldest to lift her up the three high steps. Not only was she terrified of the non English speaking waif of a lady but she was insulted that she thought she needed help. We sat on the open old person/handicap seats right at the front so I could get situated before walking back up to put my money in the machine. ( I wasn't sure of the price, so I didn't have the proper amount readily available). Although next time I will wear something with pockets for easy access to my money.

Both of the girls were extremely entertained by the ride. After all, how often do they ride without a seat belt or in my arms?

I would have to strongly recommend my stroller that makes getting on and off the bus a breeze. It's a Maclaren stroller. Now please understand, I'm not into name brands at all, but I love my stroller. If you are looking for a perfect shower gift/ baby gift that you and some friends are going in on, I would have to strong arm you into purchasing this stroller. It's PERFECT for getting around town. Maclaren strollers are designed in England by people that understand the key ingredients in a stroller. The Maclaren strollers are high priced umbrella strollers but worth the price.

The reasons for my love of my Maclaren stroller:

  • It comes with a carrying strap for hands free travel- great for the bus and stairs
  • It is lightweight
  • All models in 2005 have a canopy to protect your baby from the sun
  • All are designed tall so no more bending over to push
  • There is plenty of leg room so you wont be kicking it while walking
  • You can push and control it with one hand
  • Oh the list goes on and on.

I did my research and borrowed one before making the investment, and I couldn't be happier. I have a few other strollers in my garage and the only one I use is the Maclaren Stroller . It's just brilliant.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Welcome Bookclub

The word is out. More people know about my blog, so my editor is going to have to get up and running out there in Maine. Well really, it's my bookclub that knows about the blog as of this evening. So likely my readership has just doubled overnight. That is assuming I get an additional two people reading my blog.

Here is a great tool to hold your coffee and tea. Be the first in the world to own your very own stunt mom mug.

By the way, the next bookclub is going to be Thursday August 11th at my house. It's a Harry Potter discussion, along side a shower for our newest mom to be- SUSAN! Pick any HP book you want, and maybe we will discuss- it is my house after all.
The mug!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I'm Not a Slacker

Here is a funny website for all of you Stay at Home Dads! You just have to love the title.
I'm not a Slacker! - The rambles and rants of a stay-at-home dad

But please, I am no way endorsing his suggestions of feeling your kids hotdogs and other processed food. His food choices alone imply that he could be a potential slacker. Does he really use bottled/canned fruit in the summer? Maybe I'm the one in the wrong and needs to relax? Maybe my dreams will be shattered as I stay home longer, and reality will set in that I too will jump on the hotdogs and chicken nugget train.

Possibly worth reading: the side section of the blog mentioning the "dumbass parent of the day".

Monday, July 25, 2005

Stay At Home Dads

While we were away on vacation I had a nice long chat with my brother-in-law, about staying at home. He has been home with the kids for a few years, on and off (he and my sister swap every couple of years). I was surprised to hear that the hardest thing for him is that there is a real stigma attached to a man staying at home. Apparently it can be perceived that they are free loading off the working woman- as his own brother stated to him once. He also mentioned how hard it is to meet other Stay at home Dads, or Moms who feel comfortable hanging out together.

Talking a little more, I realized that I too have stayed away from the stay at home dad (SAHD). While going to places where I have met other mom's, like at the library for story hour, I have never introduced myself to the Dads. I even have a friend who's entertaining and interesting husband stays home, and I have never gone out of my way to make a play date with them.

So if anyone has answers or thoughts to this puzzle, please let me know! In the meantime, I am challenging myself to getting to know at least one stay at home dad in the area.

To read more about starting your own SAHD network, click here

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Babysitting Cooperative

Since returning from vacation, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed being around my kids. I just spent every hour day and night with them, without a thought of a break. Being gone has really helped me appreciate how much my husband helps out with the kids on a daily basis. Even if it's just for a trip to the post office ALONE, having a few moments really helps my mental state.

So now I'm motivated to start a babysitting cooperative. I have a friend that hesitates to ask us to watch her kids in fear of taking advantage. That why, if we form a formal co-op. We should be able to exchange kids guilt free.

A baby sitting co-op consists of a number of families in a community who
decide to share babysitting among themselves without the exchange of money.
Members agree to share responsibilities for keeping records and for providing
and using services. Babysitting co-ops usually are intended for occasional not
regular childcare.

What Are the Advantages of a Babysitting Co-op?
A babysitting co-op allows neighbors to get to know one another. Children become comfortable among adults and other neighborhood children, and parents come together. By organizing as a co-op, parents expand the options available to them for babysitting, and they can turn neighbors into friends. Here are just a few more advantages of using a babysitting co-op in your neighborhood:

  • Children can make new friends and develop social skills.
  • Children can become close with many families in the neighborhood.
  • No money is spent on babysitting.
  • Occasional day, evening, or emergency overnight care helps families.
  • Parents get some free time.
  • Parents get the opportunity to see their children interact with others.
  • Neighbors get to know one another and create a stronger community.

Click here to read more

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I Wasn't Joking

A few people have questioned the sincerity of my comment on "staying at home would mean having a clean house and gourmet meals". But I truly did believe this. I thought the kids would play together for a few hours each day while I got household chores done. My three year old plays by herself no problem, but when the one year old is awake, that means trouble. They FIGHT over everything. One would think due to their age difference that they would play separately, and on occasion, play together. But that is not the case at all, I must intervene constantly, interrupting my attempts at cooking and cleaning.

I hear from other moms that this is typical, not to expect much along the lines of a clean house and great meals. I still believe it is possible somehow to have fun, and live in a clean environment, without hiring a cleaning service. I'll let you know when we reach that point.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Cloth Diapers

When I had my first baby I was 100% certain I would use only cloth diapers. Of course, for vacations and special occasions, I would splurge on a disposable diaper. I do love the environment, I swear I do. The day I went back to work, I pretty much gave up the idea of cloth. We found using them on the weekends and evenings not enough to do a full load often, so we always had a gross pail of diapers anxiously awaiting the washing machine. Daycare wouldn't allow us to bring our in children wearing cloth due to health reasons, so it just wasn't practical for us to continue.

As a full time mom, I could justify using disposable since I really am busier than ever, and I do so incredibly much laundry as it is. But the first full week at home, I finally had a true picture of how much waste we were making. Sorry Proctor and Gamble, but I really don't need to help with the landfill, you are doing a great job filling them up without our help. The Swiffer, disposable counter wipes, one use toilet brushes and now disposable bibs! (another stuntmom topic awaits) So after one week we filled up the diaper pail. I mean FULL. So only a week ago I found it so acceptable to be in disposables because I could justify the "save the water and soap" campaign. But since I'm doing so much laundry, what's throwing in a few cloth diapers too?

So I have mastered the technique for cloth diapers. I know there are many schools, but here is what works for me:

1.Chinese prefold cloth diaper inserts
2. Wraps of various sizes and types. I'm in love with biobottoms wool, but I hear they are out of business. They seem to have the best fit for my child and I love the snaps that work to keep them on. I have the good fortune to only have purchased a few since many people try out cloth, and then realize it isn't for them, or their children quickly outgrew a certain size. They are so costly that most people hang onto them in effort to find them a home. So ask around. There could be people you know that want to share their experience with you.
3. A diaper pail. I use a plastic container that used to hold cat litter, because a handle and lid are imperative.

Put all of the dirty diapers in the dry pail. No need to soak. I do soak the overly soiled inserts in the toilet to get them as clean of solid waste as possible before going into the pail, then washer.

I put them in the wash on the pre-wash cycle so they have a chance to rinse before adding my clothes. To Read More click here
Good luck!

Monday, July 04, 2005

The Fourth of July

I've been reading the book America is by Louise Borden to my oldest daughter all week in effort to explain the Fourth of July. The book forces the reader to sing the Star Spangled Banner, which just so happens to be her favorite song at the moment. It's a perfect intoduction to understanding what is the United States of America- maybe not understanding it, but at least discussing it.

Today we went to the typical parties. Well, at least the first party was fairly typical (not to be sounding ungrateful- the food was wonderful! And the house is amazing!). It was out in the suburbs, although not seeming so since they have a lot of land, an old old house, and no neighbors. Anyway, we brought our dish, along with our two fussy children. We ate, watched the water balloon fights, chatted, and left in time to make it to the other party we attend every year.

The next party is not typical. It's held in the city, but in the city where the plots of land and houses are rather large, making it seem semi- rural. The party is hosted by one of my old bosses from my corporate world days. This guy "Howie" who hosts the party every year is one of those people that knows everyone. You can't walk through ANY city without him saying "hey, I went to school with her, I worked with him",- you know the type. So he has this party every year, where there are hundreds of kids and adults, and he seems to be able to entertain them all. One year he had a popular kid's musician playing (don't ask me the name, you have to trust me that he is famous). He always has custom made Coozies for the party to ensure that no one is drinking a cold beer- without his name on it.

My favorite part of the party is the giant slip and slide he builds every year. He covers the hill in his back yard with a HUGE sheet of plastic in the manner of Christo. Kids spend the entire party going down the giant water slide. Of course an occasional adult will go down it too, but they always seem to get injured due to the speed they pick up, and the body weight vs. gravity.

My kids have yet to partake in the slide, but they really had a great time watching the other children slide into the mud pit at the bottom of the hill.

Fireworks are viewed from the front yard of his house, but we have yet to stay to see the grand display due to the age of our youngest.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

It's Not Just for the Burbs

City life has many advantages, short commutes, leave your car at home for errands, bus lines, diversity, and the list goes on. One factor that I seldom remember to add to the list is the sense of community.

We live in the city on a fairly busy street and every year for the last three, we have been able to get the street together for a urban block party. We block off our street with the approval of the police department, and we wheel our grills, picnic tables, tricycles, kiddie pools and sprinklers into the middle of the street and the fun begins. Everyone brings a dish to share, along with their meat or meat like products to grill as a family. One year we had a band that played until the fans went home (a blessing in disguise since they set up next door, and it was our first day home from the hospital with baby #2)

Of course, living in the city, there occasionally is the person that strolls by for a free hamburger or beer, but that is to be expected, so they usually eat their food, and then head back to where they were going in the first place.

Here is a photo of the fun! What's a party without a polaroid camera?

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Getting a Second Opinion

Just a quick follow up from the vet hospital. Stanley is doing fine. Our wonderful vet suggested holding off on daily meds since she will build up an immunity, and the medication will adventually not work. Dr. Bob is an honest and wonderful vet, Thanks Dr. Bob!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Taking Stanley to the Hospital

Our dog Stanley is about nine years old. We found a stray beagle when my husband and I bought our first house. I thought it was a sign that we were meant to have her since I always wanted a dog, and after a week in the house, little pregnant Stanley was looking for a home. So quickly she became part of our family, along with one of the six Puppies she produced.

Stanley has had seizures in the spring every year for the last five years. Last night she had one that lasted for two hours. So the minute the girls and I finished our early dinner, we rushed her to the emergency clinic. My husband was working late, so the two kids and I were on our own.

I panicked, thinking, should I send the girls over to a neighbor while I take the dog to the hospital, or should I attempt this alone with the girls? Realizing, that I really should only use the neighbors if it is the last resort, like a baby being born type of stuff, so the four of us went to the hospital with our dog that needed to be carried.

How I managed the two little kids and the dog you ask? Well, I put the baby backpack in the car so I could have my hands free to carry the dog. We couldn't survive without the backpack, but for this we ended up not using it. When we got to the hospital, I was carrying the baby, and holding my three year olds hand, and simply asked the person at the admission desk if she could go out to the Subaru, and pick up the dog.

A simple solution for my "past" fear of doing things with my kids.

So today we are scheduled to take both dogs into our veterinarian's office with both of our dogs. I'll have to let you know if we can handle this too.

Oh, and little Stanley is doing just fine. We are going to get a second opinion today about whether we should medicate her for the rest of her life, which is what the hospital recommended.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Staying Home Isn't What I Thought

I pictured being able to have a gourmet meal prepared and ready to go every evening. Oh, and it was going be prepared in a spotlessly clean house. But with two little ones in the house, it seems we can only achieve one of the two, and that is if we are lucky and don't have fun during the day. On days that we have fun, meaning a trip to the zoo, museum, or pool, then we are certain to have an evening like both parents are in the corporate world. We come home at 5:00, the kids are starving, and we don't have an idea about what to cook.

Is it always going to be like this? I don't think so. We are still working out the bugs in the system. We haven't established a routine. We are still playing catch-up from our out of control "two working parents" life.

So Now What?

I "stay at home" with my kids. Do I love it everyday? No. No I do not. Do I love it more than working in the corporate world? I think so. At least right now I do. See, I was one of those mom's that was afraid of her kids since I really didn't spend much time with them. I left the discipline to the "Professionals", our wonderful daycare employees. Why should I upset them even for a minute, if I only spent time with them on the weekends and evenings?

I thought my sister that stayed home with her kids was a hero for going to the grocery store with three kids. My husband and I always did all of our errands without them. I would get up early on Saturday and run to the grocery store before everyone was awake. I would stop at the dry cleaners while I was on my way to my customer's. So things always got done without the kids around. We would swap who watched them, while the other one did chores and errands.

Now, I do everything with the kids. I don't get nervous about the prospect of going somewhere with my two kids. It's actually fun. They really have become my best friends and co-workers.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Your Money or Your Life

In effort to pat myself on the back about my decision to stay home, I started reading '>Your Money or Your Life. One of the best things I got out of this book was that I was really working, making extra money so that we could spend more. We were able to take lavish vacations every year, buy whatever we wanted, remodel our house at the expense of daily quality of life issues. I loved my corporate job. I had the freedom to travel, make my own schedule, and work from home, a block from our daycare. So why did I quit if my life was so great?

Friday, June 24, 2005

To work or "stay home"

One day I woke up shocked that I had a a child a few months away from being a three year old. I spent the following months trying to decide whether I should quit my corporate job in effort to spend more time with my kids. I read book after book, helping to make the decision. I read such books as "Your Money or Your Life", by Joseph R. Dominguez, "Midlife Crisis at Thirty" by Lia Macko and Kerry Rubin (yes, anyone can get a book published if you know the right people). It was by far the hardest decision I've ever made (at least at the time). Now all of my friends are asking how I came to the decision, and is it the right one.

Monday, June 20, 2005

And, All Organic Milk is Not Equal....

I spend $80.00 a month on organic milk for my family, and have come to realize when I bought Horizon, since it is the cheapest, I was not buying milk where the cows are allowed to graze in pastures.

"It is our contention that you cannot milk 2000-6000 cows and offer them true access to pasture as required by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, the law that governs all domestic organic farming and food processing."

So it is not enough to just have a label "organic" on our milk, if the cows are not getting to pasture. Consumers need to be educated about brands. Organic Valley Co-op is the only brand (to my knowledge) currently available where the cows get the needed nutrients by grazing in open pastures. Now Kroger and Walmart, the two largest grocery chains in the country, don't even carry it.

Read the full article here.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

But....Not Enough Organic Milk

Although we should be feeding nothing but organic milk to our babies, as posted yesterday, here's more to think about.

The consumer demand for organic dairy products in the U.S. now exceeds the supply by at least 15%. As an example, Organic Valley Coop, the second largest organic dairy company in the U.S., experienced a 36% growth in sales in 2004, but says it would be growing even faster if it wasn't for supply limitations. There simply are not enough organic dairy farmers. While the USDA gives out $25 billion a year in taxpayers money for crop subsidies to large farms engaged in chemical intensive agriculture and genetic engineering, family farmers wishing to make the transition to organic get nothing. Bruce Ellis, CEO of Wisconsin Organics, says the shortage of organic milk has severely limited his company's growth. If more conventional dairy farmers converted to organic, Ellis says his company could "certainly grow several hundred times."

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Organic Milk for Your Baby

Studies now confirm that we should be feeding nothing but organic milk to our babies, once breastmilk is no longer an option.

According to Dr. Alan Greene, one of the nation's leading pediatricians, kids should be drinking organic milk. Dr. Greene gives seven reasons for his strong organic dairy dietary recommendation:

1) Produced without antibiotics
2) Produced without synthetic hormones
3) Produced without harmful pesticides
4) Higher levels of calcium per glass
5) Higher levels Conjugated Linoleic Acids (good fats)
6) No harmful additives like corn syrup, aspartame or synthetic dyes.
7) More humane animal treatment.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

My husband is the best

Thanks Michael for making this possible! You are brilliant.

Our Camping Trip

In effort to do everything that a true "stay at home mom" wouldn't do, I took the kids camping to celebrate my one year old's first birthday. Her birthday fell on a Thursday, so the park was pretty vacant for what I had expected. It was a typical midwest summer day, the heat was unbearable, but we found the tall trees at our campsite made it about 10 degrees cooler. The location we picked was only about 30 minutes from our house, just incase things didn't work out as magically as planned.

The untold secret to camping with more little one's than adults, is a "pack and play." In my opinion, no kid is too old to spend a few quality minutes in the pack and play with the little ones, while the tent is being set up or dinner is being made.

Monday, June 13, 2005

T-Shirt Underwear

I found this cool recycling thing yesterday...

I know you've got them, lurking in drawers, the back of the closet, in the "giveaway" pile: those T-shirts that are, for various reasons, both unwearable and indispensable. they are too small, too big, too short, have a stain, a hole, or some other flaw, and yet you cannot bear to part with them.

Check out the site here.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Nanny Diaries

I just finished reading this book. I can recommend it if you need an easy read. I want to pretend these families are really fiction, but I know they exist.

I too was a nanny for a brief few months of my life. This book is a realistic view of the life of a nanny- from what I remember at least. You stick around for the love of the kids.

My First Post

I quit my corporate job to stay at home. We don't stay at home. This is what we do everyday.