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Archive for October, 2012

Taylor’s Brag – 7 on 7

Our community supports their high school football team big time. I don’t know if its because its a small town with a strong football program or if there just is t much else to do on a Friday night around here, but I went to the university’s stadium to watch Taylor play 7 on 7 touch football during half-time of the high school football game and it was packed!

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It’s great to see community support for the team and being there certainly brought back some memories for me – where the social engagements were much more important than the game and, as Taylor put it, “there is so much drama at these games.”

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From what I’ve heard, our team us usually very good – and win state quite frequently – but tonight, we were losing 20-0 just before half-time. Some local fans jokingly said I wasn’t welcome at the games any more because I brought bad luck. At least I think they were joking?

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A Review – Game Park

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There is a nature trail through the woods near the game park on the north side of town. It has a board walk through the prairie and little signs that talk about different types of trees in the woods.
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One day a mom took a crabby, teething baby, a little girl and a tiger on a walk through the woods so the Dad could have 30 minutes of peace and quiet while he prepared dinner. The girl and the tiger loved the walk, but the teething baby just cried. And cried. And cried.
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When the mom reached the end of the trail and began to head home for supper, the girl and the tiger cried and cried and cried. When the mom got them, sweating and huffing, strapped into the car, she plugged her ears, took a deep breath and cried and cried and cried. Then she drove home.

**I would recommend this outing when you and your kids are in a good mood.

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My dad used to tell me the old tale of walking uphill both ways to school. In the snow. With no shoes. Uh-huh.

And when my sister and I wanted to buy a treat or trinket he would tell us to find the penny candy and that a loaf of bread used to cost a nickel. Uh-huh.

And even though I think he exaggerated a bit about “the good ole days,” some current trends in society don’t necessarily seem to be improving over the “old times.”

One thing we are really missing is neighborliness. (Which I didn’t know was actually a word but my iPhone says it is, so we will go with Siri on his one.) You know – kids playing outside with the neighborhood kids until the street lights came on.

I also remember my dad telling us how he had the run of the neighborhood until the street lights came on – which was said in a way to suggest that would be okay for my sister and I. But. Mom didn’t agree.

Are parents more protective now? Or are times changing? Or is bad news so much more public that it has us all scared? Or have people been guilted in to being protective because of the judgement of others?

It’s probably a combination, but recent news of Sandusky’s sentencing has brought these thoughts to the surface again for me. Here is a man who is so sick that, even after many people corroborated stories about his indecent sexual activity with minors, maintains his innocence. He claims he’s been framed in some sort of conspiracy. A psychologist on the radio said that often times pedophiles will not even realize the gravity of their crimes, truly believing that they are actually helping the poor, neglected at-risk youth they are inappropriately interacting with.

And at-risk these boys were. Part of an organization to get at-risk youth focused on football. And then violated by their coach.

So, who’s going to let their kids run the neighborhood until the street lights come on? Or spending time hanging out with the Little League coach? Or the youth group leader? Or the Cub Scout leader?

And when we are forced by knowing these disgusting, amoral, unlawful, and sickening acts we close the doors. We put up walls. We trust less.

We don’t let our kids play outside all day and find adventures or make up fantasy worlds in the woods or the leaf piles. Because if something did happen, we would never forgive ourselves. Right?

Well, what if the thing that happened was that kids played. Outside. With fresh air. And their imagination? What if what happened is that they learned to cooperate and compromise with kids older than them or younger? What if what happened is that there were games. With winners and losers and the feelings and sportsmanship associated with each? What if what happened when the kids got to know each other they learned what “neighborliness” was all about? And when they grow up the walls can come down a little. The doors can be opened and we can go back to a time when kids were kids. Playing outside with their neighborhood posses. Until the street lights came on. Because, lets face it – bad things can happen anywhere – and if you kept your kid in a bubble and something bad happened to them would the guilt be less? Would you easily forgive yourself – cause, hey, at least you protected them the best you could, right? Does that soften the blow of a tragedy?

Are you a “helicopter parent” or are you raising a free-range kid?

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We are lucky in this part of the state to have access to lots of great parks and recreation areas close and inexpensive or free.

One weekend recently we took a hike at Hoffman Hills. There is an observation tower at the top of the hill from which, I’ve heard, you can see for miles. I haven’t been to the top yet. I took the kids there his summer to look for plants, birds and trees of interest. At the time here was some logging going on so we couldn’t get to the top. A few weekends ago we went back to explore the fall colors. We didn’t make it to the top this time either because by the time we got there it was after 11:00 and we had brought no food or water – not realizing it was a 2-mile hike each way.

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So we didn’t make it to the observation tower again. But, when we do, the kids will be really excited. James wants to play prince and princess up in the tower. Natalie is excited to see all of the land of her kingdom. And Liberty, well, she just likes going outside – and climbing steps.

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Even though we didn’t get to the tower, the kids enjoyed the fall foliage, exclaiming how the trees were “pink, just like in The Lorax.”

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And we we able to learn about ten different types of trees that grow in a hardwood forest. When we would approach a plaque describing a new tree, James and Natalie would rush the sign, jump up and down and yell, “Read it, read it!”

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And, if nothing else, the fall colors are a gorgeous and Wisconsin-feeling backdrop for photographs.

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Recipe File – Breakfast Bars

I have explored a lot of websites and recipes to find new and interesting ways to get nutrition into my kids. Natalie eats breakfast in the car now and I was trying to figure out how to get a healthy breakfast in her that would help her focus and get through the morning.

I adapted a recipe that I found online and these bars are a hit! They are sweet an tasty and packed with protein and fiber.

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Here is the recipe. Give it a try and see what you think. These bars are similar to Luna bars:
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 cup unsweetened organic peanut butter
1 cup agave syrup (I used light)
2 TBS vanilla extract
6 cups bran flakes (or any cereal)
1 tsp sea salt
4 TBS flax meal
2 scoops vanilla protein powder

Melt Nutella and peanut butter with Agave.
Add vanilla extract and salt.
Measure 6 cups of cereal into a large bowl.
Add flax meal and protein powder.
Mix.
Add wet ingredients and mix well.
Press firmly into 9×13 pan
Refrigerate until firm, then cut and wrap – if they aren’t eaten first.

Approximate nutrition based on 1/16 of a 9×13 pan.
Calories: 233 cal
Carbs: 35 g
Protein: 8 g
Fat: 7 g
Fiber: 6 g

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Taylor’s Brag – Marching Band

I loved marching band in high school. I still love the pep band and marching band at the football games. It made the football game itself more tolerable back when I had no clue what a first down, field goal or point after was. When Taylor wanted to take drum lessons I was really proud. We gave him private drum lessons for Christmas in 4th grade. We were happy when he wanted to continue playing percussion in the middle school band and that he made the drumline. And I was really excited when he mentioned he’d be marching in the Homecoming parade. I love parades – for the marching bands. And I love marching bands largely for the cadence. And Taylor… Well, he kept a great cadence, even while he gave us a wave, a smile and a little wiggle as he marched on by.

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I love trick photography. Here are some cute examples. 🙂

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