Thursday, November 29, 2007

So happy about my tea

I'm so happy to learn that my favorite tea Tetley advertises at least on its website "Tata and Tetley not only share a passion for tea but also a commitment to operate as a responsible business. Use these links to find out more about what we’re doing to manage our environmental, ethical and social impacts."

I had been debating if I needed to get a more expensive tea that I like less in order to have fair trade tea. I think fair trade is far more important than organic when it comes to foreign produce and of course tea doesn't grow here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A really sweet video that shows the spirit of my daughter's school

Castro's celebration of getting off the Federal List of schools that need to be improved.

My daughter joined after the school was already off the list, but the video shows the great spirit of the school and why we love it so much.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Nerdy giving

I love Free Rice. Maybe it's because I achieved the maximum score of 50 and gave 570 grains of rice to UNICEF.

When I think about it, 570 grains is a pittance, but I loved playing the game. It filled me with nerdy joy, and I even learned a couple words too. I believe this is the first time my large vocabulary has directly resulted in doing good. I'm working on doing it both more indirectly, but today with both kids home from school on holiday is not a writing day for me.

Stop Junk Mail by going online

I used to spend an extra five to ten minutes a day sorting through junk mail. That doesn't sound like much, but it adds up and as regular readers of my blog know, I have a lot on my plate without filling it with junk mail.

The standard advice is to pay $1 to get the Direct Marketing Association to remove your address online.

But then all the rest of the advice I read involves writing. Not so! You can do a lot of online.

To remove your name from random offers of credit and insurance for five years or permanently. If you want it to be permanent, you have to sign and mail something in, but that's one time.

A company or charity that you have already done business with is free to send you mail at any time and also to sell your name unless you tell them otherwise. But do you need to write? No! Go to the organization's web site and scroll down to the bottom of their site. Usually in tiny letters at the bottom, you'll see a Privacy link. That link will reveal pages of legalese and usually an email address where you can email to be taken off their mail list.

For organizations I like, I say email only. For organizations that I don't like, take me off your lists. For all organizations, put me on your do not call list and do not share my information with any other organization even affiliates of your organization.

This takes about five minutes to ten minutes per organization depending on how hard their web site is to navigate and how fast you type. However IME each organization sends a piece of email once a month. So it's time saved in the end. Also you're saving trees in that the company is not printing paper to send to you and the US mail is not transporting that mail to you.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My son is running

Both feet off the ground.

Running running away

I've worked very hard for this day

that he can run away from me.

Some day I hope both kids will run faster than me

leaving me behind.

But I hope they will still return

at least for holidays.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Slimy yet satisfying

In the Lion King Pumbaa says "Slimy... yet satisfying." as he eats a large grub from a rotten log. This is how I'd describe the IEP process at the school district where my son was transferred. Our district has no program for his "low incidence disability" --school speak for we don't see many kids like this so we have to be more careful.

We love the special preschool he's in and adore his special ed teacher and like the other kids. And our son's already making measurable progress after only a month in. He's started to climb stairs without holding onto a rail. I thought he couldn't get more confident but I think I was judging him as a two-year old and he's three. He asserts himself more with words. He used to be quiet around other kids which I stupidly accepted as "just being a boy." Well he's not quiet anymore. And he was never quiet at home. This preschool is definitely the right fit for him.

The school district... Well. It's only two years. And we can work with them as long as we don't look too carefully at the whole thing. One the plus side they're organized in careful segments....

Anyway if I had to choose I'd choose this way. Because we're not moving anytime soon. Our older daughter loves her elementary school. And our school district special ed people are disorganized but so far warm and friendly.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Pencils inspired our Halloween

After reading from a mom of a diabetic kid and thinking about how fat many kids are we decided to supply Halloween pencils stickers and spider rings for treats. We also had about 12 pieces of candy but those didn't go until the end.

Pencils were by far the most popular. "Cool! Pencils! I need them for school." exclaimed one boy. We bought 3 dozen Halloween pencils for a dollar a dozen and by the end of the night they were all gone.

It made me feel good that I was actually contributing to a child's education instead of their bad health.

I guess if everyone gave away pencils it wouldn't be special any more but Walmart and dollar stores are full of little cheap things. And maybe part of the reason pencils were so popular was that my husband was so excited to be giving them away. The kids had a choice but the pencils sat bright and shiny at the top.

Did you give something away this Halloween that interested you or inspired you? If not what could you give next year?