The girls have asked me a few times if we could purchase some polymer crystals or gems/jewels, especially after they watched a Steve Spangler video via an email I received from his science company.
I, too, thought it was pretty cool to watch these polymer marbles "disappear" when they are added to water. I've never been one to do "slight of hand" disappearing types of tricks...except maybe when there is only one cookie left in the cookie jar and the girls are coming around the corner to get a snack in the kitchen!
However, I didn't want to spend $10 or more, plus shipping, to purchase some of the polymer crystals, so I have always told the girls "no" because it isn't something we've needed.
The other day, though, we were wandering through our local Dollar Tree store for a few specific items, and I came across containers of clear polymer marbles...for $1.
I should have saved them for Christmas gifts, but since that's more than a few months away, and we are finishing up our school year this week, I put one container of them in the shopping cart. When we were checking out, and the girls saw the container of polymer marbles, they could hardly contain their excitement!
We have got a kick out of experimenting with the marbles this week. Okay, so I suppose you would say that we are easily amused, right? You are CORRECT!
And for only $1, it has been worth it!
About a year ago, our family decided to try to switch from some of the common sweet foods and ingredients we ate to more natural sweeteners and foods. I can't say that we've been successful with this all of the time, but we have made a lot of improvement.
One of the things that was easier - but more costly - to switch was pancake syrup.
I used to always make my own pancake syrup using combinations of white sugar, brown sugar, water, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter. I would simmer it on the stove for a while until it became a bit thicker. My husband didn't mind the taste of it, and he put up with it for quite a few years, but then one day he asked me, "Is there any way we could possibly buy Aunt Jemima's pancake syrup or Log Cabin or something like that?" He really didn't prefer how my homemade syrup set up in the fridge and got a bit "sludgy."
I was happy to accommodate him, although I would have rather not needed to pay the extra price for pancake syrup as well as have it filled with GMO-corn syrup.
Then, a friend of mine (Wardeh at www.GNOWFGLINS.com) began to coordinate a wholesale ingredients order from a nearby town every other month. I noticed that organic maple syrup was available to purchase through this wholesale co-op. The first time I ordered the syrup, I think it was around $15 or $16 a quart. My husband and I were a bit surprised at the price, until I began to look around for a cheaper price. It could hardly be found! The second time I ordered a quart of organic maple syrup, the price had gone up to over $18. Sticker shock!
We still order a quart of organic maple syrup about every other month, but we use it sparingly, which is better for us, anyway. We make certain to purchase Grade B maple syrup, because it has more of the true maple flavor, especially in baked goods and when used as a flavoring.
I have found another source for organic Grade B maple syrup that is slightly less expensive than the source I have for wholesale maple syrup...at least for right now.
If you are willing to place an order at least every 3-6 months or so via Amazon for this particular maple syrup, they will sell it to you at a reduced price of 15% off. Of course, the repeated ordering can be canceled at any time you desire, though. I recommend that if you decide to go this route, you don't cancel after the first order unless you truly don't like the maple syrup. If too many people abuse this privilege of receiving a discount for being a repeat orderer, the discount may be removed.
Here's the link for Coombs Family Farms' 100% Pure Organic Maple Syrup Grade B, 32-Ounce Jug. It sells for $19.80 regularly priced, but if you decide to sign up for periodic shipments of this item, say, every 3 months or so, it will only cost $16.83 with free shipping!
An interesting conversation with my younger daughter this afternoon as we were in the truck, driving to the store:
"Mom and Dad, I was planning on running away tonight, well, you know, it was like a 50/50 kind of thing, but then I realized that I needed to get permission from you first, Mom."
Oh, my. Elmer and I haven't laughed that hard in a l-o-n-g time! We teased her about how the whole point of running away from home was to be able to do things on your own, without having to get permission from someone else!
After the laughter died down, though, it made me really think: We as moms and dads have such an amazing influence on the thought patterns of our children! If I didn't require my daughters to seek our permission to get snacks, use the computer or Wii, or go to a friend's house, then I'm sure that this conversation wouldn't have even taken place today.
But because I believe that children should have a bit of a more restricted sense of freedom around their home, Brittany's plans and conscience had obviously made her really do some thinking today.
I do allow the girls to make quite a few decisions: they pick out their own clothes to wear each day, unless they come out of their bedroom in something that is inappropriate for the weather. I allow them to choose a healthy snack, from whatever I may have in our home. But they do need to ask if it's okay to have a snack. I've never allowed them to "rummage at will" through the fridge or the cupboards anytime they "want" something. I suppose this is why they can go for days without asking for a snack, and why they eat healthy, hearty meals most days.
I do allow the girls to pick out books to read that interest them, although we do have some requirements: parents and authority in the story must be respected, or the children in the story are taught to respect those in authority over them during the story; swearing, innuendos, and inappropriate content won't work for books that they choose.
There are many other areas of their lives where they have the freedom to make choices. But so far, they have been content for Mom and Dad to make quite a few choices for them.
A few times, I've given the girls a choice about something, and they have AGONIZED about which "path" to choose. Sometimes, they have even shed tears over this. But I know that if they have the wisdom, knowledge, and maturity to make the decision, I won't intervene. A few times, I've had to drive away from the house, leaving a child safely behind, because she couldn't make a decision on her own about whether to come with me or stay home. But they're learning more about making decisions every day, and I'm thankful for that.
If they could just put off the "runaway" decision for another 8-9 years or so, that would be great! LOL.
Hi! I'm Julieanne!