Valentine’s Day Heart Suncatchers

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I have seen things floating around Pinterest using Borax to make crystals, so I thought I’d try it myself. This activity was super easy and the results were great! The kids really enjoy looking at them hanging in the kitchen window. One word of caution, do the pouring of the Borax yourself, I’m not sure if it’s safe for the kids to touch!!

I started with 4 mason jars filled with very hot water, a box of borax, and some pipe cleaners. I had the twins “help” me form the pipe cleaners into heart shapes, then added a pipe cleaner so they would fit across the glass jars. I added 3 tbsp. of borax per cup of water (for this size jar it was 6 tbsp. total), and added the pipe cleaner heart. Make sure to stir it well so the borax dissolves.

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Be careful not to let any part of the heart touch the side and make sure it is completely submerged in the water. I let mine sit overnight and it was plenty of time to really crystallize. I have read that you can re-dip them by reheating the water, but I found mine plenty crystallized.

This is how they turned out!

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They look even better hanging in the window!

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I found that disposing of the borax was the most difficult part, as I didn’t want to dump it down the sink. I dumped the water in a jug I was throwing away anyway, then pounded on the borax with a fork until the rest came out:)

You could really make any shape out of these, snowflakes, hearts, suns, etc. Have fun and enjoy!

Until our next adventure,

Moving Mommy

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Flu Shot

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*Disclaimer: I know that this is a hot button topic and I ask everyone to please be respectful of other people’s views in the comments. I am not writing this post to upset anyone, I am looking for honest opinions and advice*

Do you get your kids the flu shot? I have always been skeptical of it, and my kids have never had it. I am not anti-vaccine, all of my kids are vaccinated. I understand the risks of all types of vaccines and after a lot of research, we decided that the benefits outweigh the risks for us. Except for the flu shot. It seemed to me in the past that my kids are healthy and have healthy immune systems, so it wouldn’t be the end of the world if they got the flu. This year I’m a little concerned, as it is at epidemic levels here in New Jersey and I read an article that 20 children have died this year from the flu.

The article didn’t give specifics, like the overall health of the children affected, but that’s scary folks. When the twins were babies, I asked my pediatrician about the vaccine when he offered it. He asked me if my kids went to daycare and I said no. He told me that honestly, none of his kids had the flu shot until they were old enough to have the nasal one. That pretty much sealed the deal for me, I mean if my doctor didn’t think it necessary than why would I inject something unnecessary into my child?? The nasal version does not contain Thimerosal (mercury), while the injection does. No other vaccine approved for children under 6 contains Thimerosal, and that has been my main reason for not getting it before. Toxic substances and my children’s blood stream just don’t mix. But now I’m concerned that maybe I’m not doing the right thing.

The twins have a doctor’s appointment next Monday and I have to make a decision before then. I’m not sure if they offer the nasal version at their office. If they do, I will probably get it. If not, I’m still unsure…

Any advice from my wonderful readers???

Thanks!

Moving Mommy

 

2013- The Food Movement in Review

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Overall, I think that 2013 was a good year for those of us in the “food movement”. People are becoming more educated, and are starting to make healthier choices for their families. There have also been some major setbacks, but that is to be expected. Change doesn’t happen overnight, or in a week, a month, or a year. It takes time and people spreading the message to accomplish great things. Thank you to all of you out there voting with your dollars, marching, or educating yourselves on our food system! Here are some of the highlights and low points of 2013.

1. Chipotle becomes first restaurant to voluntarily label GMOs, and is now trying to go GMO free. It’s nice to have a good choice out there while traveling! We had Chipotle at 6am at the airport last week:)

2. Kraft removes artificial dyes from some of its products. The regular mac and cheese still contains the dyes, but many of the ones geared specifically toward children will not (SpongeBob etc.).

3. Original Cheerios goes GMO free. I think this technically happened in the first few days of this year, but who’s counting? Sometime in the near future, original Cheerios will be GMO free. It’s probably the least difficult one for them to change, as corn starch and sugar are the only two things that would be GMO anyway, but it’s a start!

4. March Against Monsanto has 2 million marchers worldwide. 2 million is a lot of people!

5. Connecticut and Maine pass GMO labeling laws. Hopefully more will follow suit!

Now for the bad news…

1. Washington state GMO labeling bill fails. It’s hard for the food movement to keep up with the millions being thrown into advertising by Big Food!

2. 50% of chicken tested contains antibiotic resistant bacteria. Gross. And Scary. The EU has reduced their salmonella contamination to below 1%, ours is still hovering between 11-16% each year. I know this is less a food movement issue and more a public health concern, but it’s so alarming that I thought I’d address it. Eat antibiotic free chicken!

3. A bill has been introduced that would allow products that contain GMOs to be labeled ‘natural’ or ‘all natural’. Thankfully, it’s not law…yet.

4. The Obama administration appointed a former Monsanto lobbyist as the new head of food safety.

That’s all I can think of off the top of my head, but I’m sure I’ve missed some! It was a busy year for the foodies of the US, and hopefully 2014 will be as well. Is there anything that you noticed that I missed? Let me know in the comments!!!

If you are curious about my feelings on GMOs and all things food, read this post.

Until our next adventure,

Moving Mommy

Child Care

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I was reading an article the other day about the cost of child care, and while I remember it being expensive, I didn’t realize just how expensive. Before the twins were born I worked full-time, and Luke was in daycare. We spent about $9,000 per year, which is a lot, but I thought it was reasonable because we only had one child at the time. I still made enough to bring home a decent salary after child care. Then came the twins. We decided as soon as we found out that I wouldn’t be able to work. I mean, $27,000 per year? Can anyone afford that? That’s more than the majority of Americans pay for their mortgage or rent.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think that child care providers deserve every penny that they make, but how much of that do they really see? Considering the BLS shows the average child care workers’ salary is $19,510 per year and preschool teachers’ salary is $27,130, I would say not much. Can there really be $130,000 of overhead per classroom per year? I’m not sure, I guess it’s possible, especially in small centers. It doesn’t change the fact that child care is becoming more and more unattainable for the majority of Americans. I have a master’s degree and can’t afford to work. Seems crazy right?

In 2/3 of the US, child care for one year is more expensive than college at a public university. As parents, we are spending more money to get through the preschool years than we will spend to ship them off to college. Child care costs are rising faster than incomes. What are families supposed to do? Are we stepping back in time to a place where women will no longer be able to have a career and children?

I realize that these costs vary wildly by state and that some states are actually affordable. Most of them aren’t. The county where we live averages $12,000- $14,000 per child, per year. Full-time preschool is around $20,000 per child and doesn’t include summers.

What are your thoughts on child care costs? I would love to hear opinions from child care providers and those who work!!!!

Until our next adventure,

Moving Mommy

Sources:

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Childcare Costs Continue to Rise

New Year’s Resolutions

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Did you know that only approximately 8% of people actually keep their new year’s resolutions? Sounds about right:) I think I’ve made a million of them throughout my lifetime and only kept a few. This year instead of making resolutions, I decided that I would make some goals for the year and try to make them realities. I also figured that if I put those goals out there for everyone to see, I’d be much more likely to work toward them! So, here they are!

1. Run a half-marathon- The current plan is to run either the New Jersey half-marathon or the North Face Endurance Challenge in May, but I’m unsure if I’ll be ready by then. I’m starting to train now and I’ll do my best!

2. Finish the CPA exam- This isn’t a goal, it is a must! I have three more sections to take, and I would like to have them done by the beginning of July. That means lots of studying between now and then!

3. Become a better blogger- October and November were great months for the blog, but I have so many other ideas to implement! I need to dedicate more time to writing and take the time to move to a self-hosted site.

4. Reduce my reliance on electronics- This is a hard one for me. It seems that half of my life is spent on the computer or iPad. I need to spend more time playing with the kids and enjoying the outdoors. So, basically the exact opposite of goal #3:)

Those are my biggest ones for the year! Do you make new year’s resolutions? If so, what are yours for this year? I’d love to hear them!!

Until our next adventure,
Moving Mommy

Pine Cone Christmas Trees

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‘Tis the season! We got our first snow last night, although it was just a dusting. We have been watching tons of holiday movies, and it really feels like the Christmas season! Last year at our PTA holiday party we made these Christmas trees, and they were a hit! They are easy enough for young toddlers to make, but fun for the older kids as well. Placing the “bulbs” on the tree are great for their fine motor skills!

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We bought a bag of pinecones at the craft store for a few dollars and I had the small pompoms in our school box, so it was an inexpensive and fun activity for the twins! You just dab a little glue on the pompoms and let the kids put them on the pine cones, super simple! It takes a little while for the glue to dry, so it’s best to let them sit for awhile before the kids play with them. We are thinking of hanging ours from the tree:)

What are your favorite simple holiday crafts or activities? We are always looking for new ideas!

Until our next adventure,

Moving Mommy

Pine Cone Bird Feeders

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My sister-in-law had this fun activity for us to do while we visited for Thanksgiving last week! The kids enjoyed it, and although I’m pretty sure we don’t have many birds around right now, we brought them home and put them outside. It was a bit messy and Will kept trying to eat the peanut butter:) Enjoy!

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You will need:
1. Peanut butter
2. Pine cones
3. Bird seed
4. Twine, or something to hang them with

We spread newspaper out on the table to keep the mess to a minimum, and had the kids spread peanut butter all over the pine cones. Then we rolled them around in the birdseed. That’s it! Super easy and fun for the littles!! After they dry a bit, just take them outside and hang them in your tree or off the deck.

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Until our next adventure,
Moving Mommy