Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hey Cathy, I really enjoy reading what you post. I especially like the most recent with pictures of Dan, Ann, and Mother. Congrats to Ranger!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Nature Deficit Disorder - Alarmist or not?

I have worked all semester on creating a presentation for a service learning project as well as writing a paper on what I learned from my reseach.  I also sent out a survey to one of the school's fourth and fifth graders.

My topic was Nature Deficit Disorder.  Below is a very condensed version.  Tell me what you think.  Are children truly at risk because of the decreased amount of time they spend outdoors?  Do children spend less time outside now than they did a generation ago?

“Go out and play” are four little words uttered by Mothers nationwide.  These words have different meanings to different individuals.  For some, playing outside involves team sports such as soccer or baseball.  For others, it means gathering up all the toys that little arms can carry before quickly becoming bored or too hot or too sweaty.  For others it embodies the wild, creative play of tramping through the woods and building stick forts or tiptoeing through a stream while catching frogs.  Author Richard Louv calls this lost connection with the outdoors Nature Deficit Disorder or NDD While NDD is not an actual diagnosis, it hammers home the fact that today’s generation of children struggle with the concept of spending hours outside away from scheduled structure and constant adult direction. 

We as parents have the opportunity to expose our children to an idea bigger than what is taught in the classroom.  Classrooms may assign children to create museum worthy dioramas of the deep blue sea or the jungles of Madagascar but it is vitally important for children to have actual hands-on experience.  This can teach the the life cycle of the frogs they find in their back yard and the differences between the pileated woodpecker and the downy woodpecker and of course the most important, “Leaves of three, let it be.”

Today’s children have become so acclimated to relying on technology for entertainment that when they are sent outdoors it is viewed as a form of punishment.  They often have an overwhelming urge to be entertained as opposed to being able to entertain themselves. 

Nor do they appear to have the freedom to meander through their neighborhood for many reasons.  Parental worries are at the top of that list.  It’s natural and normal to want to protect our children from potential harm, but gone are the days of being outdoors from daylight until dark.

I believe that Nature Deficit Disorder is an abandonment of wilderness.  Children no longer have that ability, time, or inclination to enjoy wild, solitary free play outdoors and if they are outside, they need something to keep them entertained.  Many of today’s children of technology rely heavily on iPods, hand-held video games, and cell phones while other children rely on skateboards and bicycles. I also feel that while the age of technology is here to stay and in most cases is truly a positive benefit; this is one instance where technology should be put aside to allow children to regain lost creativity and embrace the outdoors with unadulterated enthusiasm.   

Author Richard Louv wrote Last Child in the Woods.  I referred to this book many times over the last semester.  A lot of what he has to say is refreshing, but I felt other parts of it were alarmist and it was easy to get lost in the overwhelming amount of details he included.  The book is available on amazon.  The last time I checked you could snag a copy for around $8. 

I look forward to what your opinions are.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Easter

Tomorrow is the beginning of my Easter break.  The boys and I will be traveling.  Hubby will be home.  My dad has been battling the most God awful cough.  They are tentatively saying COPD and Gerd.  He's never smoked a day in his life.  He has an appointment to see a pulmonary specialist, but not until May.  He fell Monday and is in a lot of pain.

My Grandmother fell twice last week and has some other health issues.  She was admitted to the hospital.  The Dr. told her today she would have to go to the rehab facility.  Mom told me there is a chance she may not be able to go home.  We are all sad.
She has lost much of her strength.  She is not happy not being able to go home.

Mom is still working full time and trying to take care of everything (with her sisters, of course! :-)  And not taking care of herself.  She is sick with a cold/bronchitis/yucky stuff.

Please keep them all in your thoughts.

Please enjoy the pictures below.  I took them this week.  They are my Easter gift to you.
Is this just a regular blackbird?

This guy was very active.

 This one is my absolute favorite.  The sparrow on the right is singing.  The sparrow on the left has a mohawk!  Click to enlarge.

Yellow finch

Red bellied woodpecker?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Taking a moment to breathe

Here's the sandbox that I recycled into a planter.  Radishes on the left and mustard greens on the right.

This is when I truly know spring is here.

This little fellow kept playing peek a boo with me.

These three kept prancing around but wouldn't get any closer.

I snapped this one just before the bird took off with his treasure.  I think it is a whitebreasted nuthatch.

A few more weeks and I'll be out for summer.  Unfortunately I am taking 6 hours this summer in order to graduate in December.  I was honored to win two scholarships recently.  I'm so excited!

I've  been working on my resume this morning because I want to do an internship in the fall.  I visited one location but it isn't the type of environment for everyone - juvenile sex offenders.  They typically do not allow female interns, but I am the exception, so we'll see.

Also, Smoochie #2 is being recognized Monday night for his achievement on the scores on the KCCT (Kentucky Core Content Test). 

I am so blessed.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Mmmm a taste of summer

Last summer I put up several jars of freezer jam.  My all time favorite is strawberry.  It honestly doesn't get any better than strawberry freezer jam. 

My neighbor brought over a basket of peaches from the local peach orchard.  They were considered "seconds".  When I eat peaches, nectarines, plums, etc.  I prefer them rather firm, but when making freezer jam, the juicier the peach, the better the jam.

My mom had given me some fresh blueberries last summer, too.  Now I don't eat fresh blueberries, but I do bake with them. 

Then a lightbulb went off . . . why not make peach blueberry freezer jam???  I gave a jar to my mom who swore it was the best she'd ever had and her jar lasted a week.  Because my favorite is strawberry, I had never opened one the peach blueberry jars.  Until today.

I had a loaf of Paula Deen's beer bread which I toasted, smeared with butter and topped with the freshly opened jar of preserves.

Is there a specific food that when you eat it, it reminds you so much of a particular season? 

Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Life as I know it . . .

Oh my, where has the time gone?  I can't believe my last post was March 25th.  I apologize for that!  I just need about 10 more hours in each day to be able to do all I need to do.

The majority of my time has been spent doing homework.

Occasionally, I do have a spare moment to snap pictures of my beloved birds. 

Last week I returned to my Doctor because I just haven't been feeling well.  I'm tired.  I've been tired for over a year.  I hurt.  Tentatively I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  I'm on a medication that will pretty well let me know in a few weeks.  If I feel better with the medication then I have it.  If not, we'll start over from square one.  I'm also doing an inhome sleep study tomorrow night and also being checked for lupus. 

In the mean time the boys are on spring break and are in Tennessee with my parents.  I miss them tremendously.  The first day or so it is nice, but then the house gets too quiet and I find myself going into their room, just peeking in.

I am supposed to write 3 papers this semester.  I've finished one completely other than citing one source.  The other is a page away from being done.  The third has not been started.... my goal this week is to finish the 2nd paper and get a few pages written on the third paper.

I did use the boys old sand box as a planter this year.  I planted radishes and mustard greens.  I'll get a picture up this week!