Saturday, February 26, 2011

Living Dangerously!

Let's play a game. It's called, "How many dangers can you find in this picture?"

Let's see...pant legs that are too long (tripping hazard), long hair obstructing vision, child under the age of two standing above ground level (on one foot, no less), child playing on metal bench not intended for toddler recreation (with wooden, splinter-ridden boards - horror!), muddy play surface (reduced-traction hazard)...

And let's not forget the worst one...trees...

"Wait, wait. Dangers," you may ask, "what dangers? All I see is a child having fun!"

Or at least, this is what you might say if you, like myself, are in the process of raising Free-Range Kids.

On the other hand, you may be one of the "others." You know, the parents who think their kids are living in the next "final Destination" sequel, with random, freak accidents lurking around every corner, lying in wait for your unsuspecting children...

But we all know that isn't reality, right? Right?


"But what if..." I know, I know. What if tragedy strikes. Then it would be just that: A tragedy. Indeed, it's something I don't really even want to think of when it comes to my children. In fact, I'll let you in on a little secret...

I used to be one of the "others."

Ok, ok, so it's no secret. Everyone knows I've had my helicopter moments. But I'm changing. Really. In fact, I'm committed to it, wholeheartedly, for the sake of my sanity, for the sake of my marriage, and most of all, for the sake of my children. I don't want them to be afraid of everything outside their front door. I want them to be happy and live fully. I want them to be KIDS while they still can, so they can grow into fine adults. I want to raise children who are rowdy, crazy, a bit spoiled, a bit more spirited, and very well-loved.

So, in the interest of spreading this new-found free-range wisdom, I'd like to demonstrate what "Free-Range Kids" might look like - so you can spot them in a crowd (and inform the proper authorities).

Now here's a child, about 22 month old, about to embark on a bike ride. Note the absence of parental assistance. This is a hallmark feature of the Free-Range Child.

Note that the child has successfully gotten onto the bike and is pedaling away. No intervention needed.

Oh look, a child going for a his pajamas...

We'll just let this one speak for itself...

This is a toddler in a bath tub. Free-Range Children often bathe in actual water, unassisted, and, in this case, are allowed to use the faucet. Crazy, I know.

Now here is a picture of my son, almost two, helping me in the kitchen. He is cutting up butter into pieces for use in making a pie crust. Yes, that is an actual knife he is using, and it is sharp. He knows it is sharp, and knows how to use it carefully. He is also standing on a two-step step stool, and has excellent balance. You may be happy to know that he IS wearing a protective apron over his clothes. :)


Haha, now this, I don't actually recommend, but with Free-Range Kids, this will often happen. Do not be alarmed. Just applaud him for his creativity and encourage some other, equally-fun, yet less dangerous activity such as jumping off the couch or playing with sticks.

Ahh, now here we see Leonidas doing something else often seen in Free-Range Children: Eating. Note that he is holding his own food and getting incredibly messy...

Actually, this was a watermelon eating contest. He did not win, but had fun in the attempt!

Now THAT is satisfaction!

From these pictures, you can clearly see that Free-Range Kids can be found in several different arenas, enjoying several different activities, and worrying several different parents simultaneously. Feel free to point out the "dangers" in these pictures and warn everyone around you of what "could" happen. I probably won't be listening, since I will be beaming from ear to ear, listening to the laughter of babies and watching my children grow up happy, healthy, and FREE!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Lea's Fabulous Chicken Salad

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked, diced
1 stalk of celery, cut in half lengthwise then sliced
4 green onions, sliced
1 cup green grapes, quartered
1 granny smith apple, chopped
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup homemade mayonnaise*
1 small lemon
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. onion powder
2-4 Tbsp. agave nectar
Salt and pepper to taste
3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

In a large bowl, mix chicken, green onion, celery, apple, grapes, and pecans. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, juice of lemon, apple cider vinegar, onion powder, agave nectar, salt, and pepper. Pour over chicken mixture, combine well, and chill. Serve with crumbled bacon on top.

* You can also use store-bought mayonnaise, but I like to make mine so I can tailor it to this recipe. For the mayonnaise, I put one egg, 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar, and a hefty pinch of salt in the blender. Blend, and, with the blender running, very slowly pour in one cup of vegetable oil, drop by drop at first, then more quickly at the end, until it is all emulsified and thickened (and looks like mayonnaise). If you notice oil rising to the top, stop adding the oil for a moment and let it work into the mixture completely before continuing to add more.

Why do I forget to blog?

Yes, once again, it seems I've forgotten that this blog exists. It's been four months now, during which time Ruby has recovered from being dropped, come through a case of presumed pertussis, survived having her shoulder popped out of the socket by her multi-tasking mother (oops), and has learned to crawl and stand up with the help of furniture. Leonidas has turned into quite the big brother himself, and despite their rocky beginning, my children have come to love one another. We have also survived our move to Hemet (along with Granny), and are doing quite well. We have also acquired two pet rats named "Kitty" and "Mayu-Mayu" (pronounced "My-you My-you"), and will soon be adding a pair of chickens for our egg-laying delight (more on that later). Other developments are in the works...more to come...but for now, that's us, in a nutshell. :)