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.