Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Delivery complete! In addition to EVERYTHING on the requested lists, we were able to add: lotion, conditioner, Kleenex, and a few holiday items (for both families); batteries, three board games, gloves, holiday gloves, used leap kid computers, and holiday books (for the girls). We raised $725 in cash and gift cards; plus whatever each mama spent who shopped on their own.
Thank you to everyone who contributed and shopped. My running friend Amanda, her son Oliver and my son Owen did the final shopping at Fred Meyer on Saturday. Where if you tell them you are helping another family are extremely helpful finding sales items, coupons, discounts and dealing with cash, gift cards, etc. The boys were very funny trying to pick out dolls and games for the girls. And had many opinions on what kind of black shoes a teenage boy would like.
In addition to the cityMama donations, other staff at PBOT, some of my mama friends and my mom contributed and shopped.
Thanks again for your generosity and thoughtfulness.
Courtney co-chair, cityMamas
Monday, December 19, 2011
Saturday, December 17, 2011
As told by Jeff Guinn
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Liquid food color
2 Tablespoon hot water for each crayon
1 cup soap flakes
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup baking soda
3 Tablespoons coconut oil (or any other emollient oil like almond, avocado or
apricot kernel oil)
1/4 teaspoon fragrance oil
3-6 drops of food coloring (if desired)
Paper candy cups
2 jars with lids
2 colored of liquid food color
1 pretty 8 oz. jar
A few drops of your favorite perfume
1/2 yard of ribbon, 1/2" to 1" wide
Homemade Refrigerator Magnets
Monday, December 12, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Big surprise: "The study finds that being happy at work becomes less important to women's overall well-being when they have pre-school children, possibly because this changes working mothers' priorities."
"Or we could read it as evidence that women, in prioritizing child-rearing -- in other words, their personal lives -- identified that no matter how much you care about your job, work isn't the ultimate source of fulfillment, no matter how successful or powerful you are, not even for men, who were also included in Georgellis' study."
As HuffPost 50 editor Laura Rowley put it last week, "The company that can create jobs where a woman can work from 8:30 to 2:30 is going to win and win really big."
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
from Beth @ NW Organizing Solutions. We will have regular posts from her in 2012 - I took this from her email newsletter/courtney.
The holidays will soon be here and perhaps you are starting to feel the stress. There may be more than 12 days until Christmas, but there is also a lot to get done. How can you get ready for this wonderful celebration without arriving at the big day frazzled and exhausted?
Consider the following 12 ways to help you have a wonderful, organized, and stress-free holiday.
- Free up your mind by carrying a small pad of paper with you to write down the many thoughts that will be circling in your head over the next few weeks. Capture on paper your things to do, groceries to buy, and places to go, so your mind can enjoy the season.
- Keep your decorating simple. You don’t have to decorate as if it was a show home. Remember it’s the people that are important not the decorations. As you unpack the decorations, sort and purge those that you haven’t used in years or those that don’t look as good as they used to. Showcase your best.
- Be choosy about what you put on your calendar. There are so many great activities at this time of year. Think about each opportunity and evaluate it by asking yourself if you will really enjoy it, if you will still be able to celebrate the holiday and if you will be spending time with the friends and family you want to be with? Don’t be afraid to say “no” to some events.
- Start working on your holiday cards early. The task of writing all the cards at once may seem overwhelming, so break it down into more manageable tasks. Try addressing the envelopes one day, writing a portion of the cards on another, and finishing on yet another.
- Create a gift list and keep it handy. List all the people you have to buy gifts for and some ideas you think they might like. Keep this with you wherever you go, because you never know when the perfect gift might present itself. Check off when you have purchased gifts for each person, so you can avoid doubling up or having to make that last minute trip for a forgotten gift.
- Carve out a time to do your baking. Once you decide what you want to make and determine the necessary ingredients and the amount of time needed, schedule baking time on your calendar. If you plan to do lots of baking, consider baking some items well in advance and freezing them.
- Set up a wrapping area. This doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Just by gathering paper, tape, scissors, gift tags and ribbons near a large flat surface, you will help make the process go smoothly. Remember that using gift bags and tissue paper is a quick and easy way to wrap a gift. Also consider using a few large rolls of paper with one color theme instead of many small rolls to eliminate waste and reduce the types of ribbons and cards needed.
- Update your Christmas card and address list. As cards arrive, record who you received them from and any address changes so you’ll be ready for next year. After the holidays are over, save only the photos or special notes and recycle the rest.
- Plan meals in advance. Make a list of all the food items you plan to serve and gather the needed recipes. Make a few simple meals ahead of time and freeze them. You won’t have to spend as much time in the kitchen, so you can have more time to enjoy the season and the people important to you.
- Keep a recycle and donate bin close by. Don’t let the catalogs, newsletters, gift wrap, and miscellaneous items take over your home. Once they have been read or used, drop them into the recycle or donate bin.
- Reach out to those less fortunate or those who may be hurting. It may be someone you know or someone you have never met, but you can still show them that someone cares. You don’t have to spend lots of money on a gift. A visit to someone who is lonely or a warm meal to someone who needs it is a wonderful gift.
- Take time to celebrate. Remember your Christmas doesn’t have to be picture perfect, but a time to celebrate the greatest gift of all and to enjoy the season with those who are important to you. Merry Christmas!
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
- The Five Minute Mom’s Club
I was given this book by a mama friend for my birthday. Irony is that it took me 6 weeks to get around to reading it!
It is a quick read and a nice collection of ideas and resources. She does not claim to be an expert, and relies on other books, websites, moms, etc. for ideas and helpful tips.
Takeaways for me:
- Use a mesh bag in the laundry for clothes you don’t want to put in the dryer.
- Get back to the weekly dinner rotation: Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Leftover Wednesday, Asian Thursday, Pizza/Movie Friday, etc.
- My son is a visual and hands on learner – I should take pictures and work with him first on what he needs to do each day (brush teeth, make bed, etc.). Let him check them off a check list on his own (age 6 1/2).
- My system of different laundry bins and washing laundry separately is still a good one. (son, workout, mama/daddy, kid sheets/bed, mama/daddy sheets/bed, kid bathroom, mama/daddy bathroom, kitchen towels/cloth napkins). Don’t all necessarily have separate bins, but are washed and sorted separately.
- Validation for delegating and paying people if you can afford it. I have learned I do not like gardening or yard work - I paid someone to clean up my yard, plant some plants, clear out some plants, and clean my garden plot. She also gave me ideas for what to do next year (I will hire her!). Also able to afford someone to mow the yard twice a month and a heavy duty cleaning once a month. This is also forces us to clean up the yard, change/wash sheets, purge magazines, return library books, clear out the clutter at least once a month. Also a great excuse to go out to dinner as to not mess up the kitchen.
- Just because clothes were worn once, does not necessarily mean they are dirty and need to be washed. I do this with my own clothes, but not my son’s.
- My son can and should do more related to getting and making his own food and drinks. He loves to help (and is able), but too many things are out of reach or not in a good place. This will require some reorganization of the kitchen and fridge – so not done yet. Winter break maybe?
- We need a better area/system for school papers and backpack unload and storage.
- It should be important to you, not someone else. Frozen brown rice is fine for my family, otherwise we would not eat it since I burn it and frozen takes 3 minutes. Nightly everything from scratch and we all eat the same thing – not as important to me right now as all being at the table together eating similar things at least 4 nights a week (pizza/movie night included!).
- Book is a bit dated as it relates to smart phones, electronic calendars, etc.
- Also very car culture-centric.
What are your 5 minute tips?
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
2 small packages limeJjello
1 small can crushed pineapple in juice
1 small container fine cottage cheese
1 small can condensed milk, chilled
1. Pour 1 ½ cup of water into a glass mixing bowl. Place in microwave and cook for 3 minutes.
2. While the water is heating up in the microwave, drain the juice from the pineapple but keep the juice in a dish (you will use both the juice and the pineapple chunks).
3. When the water is hot stir in jello, ½ cup of sugar and pineapple juice. Keep stirring until the jello is all dissolved.
4. Let the jello sit until soft, like pudding. It may take more than a ½ hour.
5. When the jello is soft scoop it into a medium-size glass or ceramic dish. Use the dish you want to serve the jello in.
6. Carefully stir into the jello:
a. Cottage cheese
b. Pineapple chunks
c. ½ cup of mayo
d. Prepared condensed milk
8. Cover and place jello salad in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight. Keeps up to 3 days.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
- We mostly represent moms with young children (babies to early education), but there are many others with children from middle school and beyond.
- We need to work more on outreach (Thank you to those who volunteered to help with this! I will be contacting you soon...)
- Although the timing and location of our meetings often do not work for everyone, the group collectively does not want to just be a "social network" via the web. That said, many of you read our blog or Facebook posts, and want us to continue to expand our blog functions.
- Our most popular meetings and topics of highest interest are: parental coaching, life coaching, organizing, home/work balance, finances, and health and food.
- Many of you responded that you can help us! If you haven't, but you are interested in outreach, blog posting, meeting organizing, or you-name-it, please contact us! We'd love to hear from you.
Based on what we heard from you, for 2012, cityMamas would like to make the following changes:
- We will start rotating format of meetings: once a quarter host a professional (e.g. Practical Parenting, life coach, organizing solutions, etc.); once a quarter host a social event; once a quarter have a mom-lead topic
- According to the survey, happy hour was popular for a social event, so we’ll host the first one DECEMBER 15 at Trees, 4:30 to 6:30. Come when you can, come for 15 minutes, stay for all two hours, come meet fellow CityMamas!
- We’ll post more to the blog: book reviews, “what’s for lunch?”, mom testimonials, guest posts from our quarterly professionals, food topics – in addition to the weekly recipes. A number of moms notified us that they want to help us with posts, so we will tap into you! Please let us know if you want to write/post on a topic. We will either allow you permissions to post, or you can send us your post/book review, etc.
- ‘New Mom Buddies’ – a number of you responded that you want to help us with this. We will get organized and hopefully start making this available starting in 2012. This is not a full-time commitment! Just a chance to give a new mom your support or listening ears. Another mom offered to be support to moms who are in the throes of teenage years. Let us know if you’d like to be a buddy!
- If your location/schedule does not allow you to meet with the larger group, but you want to host a cityMamas gathering in your office (PDC, 1900 bldg, etc.), let us know! We'll post it! cityMamas is for you - if you have any ideas for how you want to be involved, contact us!
- HR should have CityMamas info/flier for new moms as part of FMLA packet (Lora to check in with “outreach team” and new moms to weigh in on what would have helped them as new moms returning to work)
- Can moms post that they are attending an event/activity outside the group (e.g. zoolights, children’s museum) to the blog? (YES – email one of the co-chairs and they can post to blog)
- Are there guidelines for pump rooms? CityMamas should do draft something up (In the past, CM advocated for pump rooms in the Portland Building and gave some desired features – we could revive this list and contact Debbie? DEEP?)
- How much advocacy can CityMamas do? (co-chairs to check in with Debbie/DEEP)
- Other ideas for meeting topics:
- Safety/Emergency preparedness (future mom-lead/city-lead topic? Darcy will post her family’s experience/tips/what’s in her emergency kit)
- “Mom tips” – e.g. technology or otherwise (future mom-lead topic?)
- PTA/School involvement (future mom-lead topic or blog?)
- "Family-friendly" city - how can we advocate for change via the Portland Plan or otherwise? (future mom-lead topic or blog?)
Courtney also gave us a quick reminder about cityMamas' Fourth Annual Adopt-A-Family. This is a great way to help families in need and to teach our children about giving to others. If you are interested in giving this year, please look at the spread sheet and let Courtney know what you'd like to donate. If you want to give cash, that is always welcome too. Or, better yet, if your child is enrolled in a Portland Public School that uses Scrip, use it to purchase gift cards at participating stores, such as Fred Meyer and "double dip"! Talk to Courtney for details.
No December meeting - See you at Happy Hour! Details/reminder to follow.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
A study finds placing one child in day care costs as much as paying tuition at the University of Oregon
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
It was a pretty sobering book: the premise is that boys aren't receiving the "emotional literacy" to respond to the situations and changes that they face throughout boyhood - instead they often resort to stoicism or solitude. The topics of sex, alcoholism, depression, suicide, and violence, for this mother-of-a-four-year-old-boy were a bit alarming. I definitely became more self-aware and probably self-conscious of everyday interactions with my boy... maybe even paranoid. Unlike the other books I've read, Raising Cain didn't include a "how to" or guidance to prevent such horrible outcomes that were presented as case studies... until the very last chapter. I am so glad I stuck with it, but WOW. The book could have been more instructive throughout. At least to prevent some hyperventilating.
The following is a great, quick book review from BookBrowse: http://www.bookbrowse.com/
For my matter-of-fact "Cliff Notes", I found the following chapters most helpful/enlightening:
- Introduction - The authors give you a sneak peak at why they felt this book was important to write, so it gives some good context.
- Chapter 1: The road not taken: turning boys away from their inner life. - Here the authors make the case for boys' "emotional illiteracy" - the inability to express emotion without resorting to anger or withdrawal. This is very interesting stuff, and it may make you see the world in a whole new light.
- Chapter 2: Thorns among Roses: The struggle of young boys in early education. - Here is the case that the early education is slanted against boys and boy behavior! So, you moms of young preschool and early-education sons will find this fascinating and a little disturbing.
- Chapter 4: The culture of cruelty. This focuses a lot on bullying and pressures specifically that boys face. Again, very eye-opening.
- Chapters 5 & 6: Fathers and Sons, Mothers and Sons. These two chapters explain the importance of male and female role models, and how they provide distinct and critical functions.
- Chapter 12: What Boys Need. AT LAST! I read the entire book to get to this chapter. Up until this point of the book, I kept thinking, what do I do??? So if you are really anxious, read this chapter.
One last thought I will leave about Raising Cain: It encourages us to always give our sons a safe place to express emotion. Expect and embrace the exuberance and activity that boys exude and then celebrate it! For me, that provided a sense of relief and a nod that it's going to be okay. (I was pregnant with boy#2 at the time I read this, and that's what I needed to know).
Has anyone else read this? p.s.There's also a PBS documentary about Raising Cain, which after reading the book, I didn't think I had the stomach for - did anyone see it?
Thoughts to share?
Monday, November 14, 2011
Please let me know what you are able to donate this year. (Email or phone call). If you would like to give cash, check or gift card to purchase a specific item or for the general shopping fund, that works too. Just be clear what you would like the money to be spent on.
I could use a co-chair for this effort. Please let me know if you can help. Shopping would be the weekend of December 16-18. Drop off is Monday, December 19.
Please have all items/money/gift cards to Courtney (9th floor, NE Corner, Portland Bldg.) or Mindy (7th floor, 1900 Bldg) by the end of the day on Wednesday, December 14.
Contact me directly and I can send you the spreadsheet with requested items. It was also sent out via email.
Thank you in advance for your time and generosity.
Bureau of Transportation