Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Friends of Gevalia Offer Awaits You

"Seems like a pretty good deal -- shipping is free and you can cancel the autoshipments at any time."
Join us for our special Friends of Gevalia offer and enjoy a premium coffee kit including a stainless steel coffeemaker, scoop and a pound of Gevalia coffee-Just $12.95 (a $100 value!) Gevalia’s guarantee-you’ll love your coffee or it’s free!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Diaper Savings -- Shameless Plug

From now through the end of March, I get double credit for referring people to diapers.com, and new customers get their standard $10 discount for using a referral code on a qualifying order. The order has to be a minimum $49 (which doesn't have to be all diapers, they have wipes, lotions, formula, baby food, baby gear like strollers and carseats, etc.), but with an order of that size you also get free shipping. They accept mailed in manufacturers coupons and have a price match guarantee. My code is LA.M8408.

Get $10 off
your first order of diapers
use code LA.M8408
$49 min. total order
buy diapers
shop diapers.com

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Poor Motives

I have been suffering random stabs of (mental) pain ever since we switched from cloth diapers to disposables. This isn't because I'm consumed with guilt over our affect on the environment; I'm not convinced one way or the other about the environmental issue. It isn't because of the increase in cost; through happenstance (I complained about a product and got a big refund) and luck finding some great deals, we've actually saved money using disposables so far, when you consider the cloth diapers I sold off, the savings on detergent, and the reduction in our electric and water bills. I know that probably won't continue, although since I can redeem our RecycleBank points for $5 off Huggies coupons, disposables could end up costing us little more than cloth. It isn't because I prefer using the cloth, I'm really enjoying not having to think about washing or worrying about carting wet diapers back home when we're out and about. No, I'm suffering these stabs of pain because now that we're using disposable diapers, we're just like everyone else. I've found myself perusing the websites of the various "eco-friendly" disposable diapers and comparing their virtues and prices, not because I am convinced that they would have any different environmental impact than standard disposables, but because if we used them I could at least regain some of that subtle feeling of superiority that I now realize was one of my primary motivators for using cloth diapers in the first place.

Now I'm stepping back and looking at all the "different" choices we make and wondering -- when I do things differently from the norm, how often is it because I really think what we're doing is better, and how often is it because I just want to be different?

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Mindful Living

I have been encouraged by several different sources lately to consider how "mindfully" I am living my life, and how that is affecting my happiness and anxiety. "Mindfulness" simply means being aware of and living in the moment, rather than fretting over the past or worrying about the future. Eckhart Tolle points out in his book A New Earth (which I'll warn you is pretty weird and probably isn't the best place to start reflecting on this) that truly only the present exists; the past is just memories and the future exists only in our imagination. The past and future are simply a row of moments of "now" placed one after the other in our mind. The only place we can truly live is "now," because it is the only time that exists outside of our minds, yet how many people never truly live in "now" because they are mulling over the past or the future?  It is only in the present moment that we can meet and connect with other people in our lives, and not being mindful of "now" also means not being mindful of what other people and what they may need or can offer to you.

This has been a major problem for me. All too often I try to escape my life instead of living in it and being present to it. The internet and message boards have been a major means of escape for me, as have reading books, spending time thinking about "how things will be" at some point in the future, curriculum planning, or just mulling over theoretical issues of theology and philosophy. Oh, and this blog. ; ) None of these things are bad in and of themselves, and in fact each of them is good and can be beneficial in its proper place. However, when they are being used as a means to avoid dealing with the present moment and its frustrations and demands (all too often, my children) then they become detrimental to my overall emotional and spiritual health.

While some of the sources advocating mindfulness come from an Eastern or New Age perspective, I've also been encouraged to reflect on this by sources coming from a purely psychological perspective, which consider mindfulness important for mental health, and sources coming from a Christian perspective. I've just begun reading The Sacrament of the Present Moment which seems to take mindfulness to its next logical step in the Christian life: after becoming aware of the present moment, one asks, "What does God will for me to do right now?" Now, if only I can remember to ask this of myself.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

What a difference a year makes!

It just so happens that my blogging hiatus has encompassed the whole of Verity's existence thus far, so this is actually the first mention of her on the blog. In any case, she is a year old!

A Curriculum Decision

We reached a decision about what we would do for school next year -- we're going to be using the Mother of Divine Grace third grade lesson plans. We used their lesson plans loosely for Pauly for first grade and I really liked and agreed with the methodology of lessons, including memorizing poetry, reading lots of literature for history and using "narrations" or retellings, but Bob wasn't really happy with their focus on American history rather than world history in the elementary years so last year we enrolled with St. Thomas Aquinas Academy. STAA was fine, I do like a lot of their suggestions, but they don't have lesson plans available without enrolling, and enrolling is pretty expensive. I am planning on following MODG's plans pretty closely for next year, simply switching out their religion plans and using the Faith and Life books instead. Best of all, since we still have the plans for first grade, we'll spend very little money on Roger's curriculum next year.