March 31, 2010

CSA vs Farmers Market

A couple years ago, a friend introduced me to a Windy Meadow Farm, a CSA. Here you pay for a share of the crops and each week you receive your portion of what ever they harvested that week. Some CSA's require you to work on the farm but this one does not. For various reasons I toyed with it for a couple years and ended up not signing up. This past year I got into going to area Farmer's Markets instead of joining the CSA.

This summer we plan on spending most of our time down at the lake so I started looking into what Farmer's Markets were in the area. I found a few but they were farther away than I was hoping. That's when I found a local CSA that has a pick up point 5 min away from the house. So I was sold on this option. But as I was reading his information I found out the next town over is starting a Farmer's Market so now I'm back to deciding between the two options.

Pros and Cons that I can think of:
CSA Pros:
* I would end up with a wider variety than if I purchased at the market. Obviously I would have the option for the same variety at the market but I would probably stick to the ones I know we eat.
* Good pick up location, probably can just grab and go. Could do easily with all of the kids.
* Prepaid so I don't have to worry about having cash on me
* Every week we would be getting more so we would have to eat it

CSA Cons:
* 20 weeks regardless of my schedule. If we aren't in town, someone else has to get the share or we forfeit it that week
* might have more of things we don't want and less of what we do want that week
* It looks like there is fruit on his list but I would probably want to buy others so may end up at the market anyway.

Market Pros:
* We pick the selection and quantity.
* If we aren't in town or have a lot left over from the previous week then we don't have to go
* Other vendors to choose from as well. The CSA's vegetable list seemed excellent but I would like more fruit varieties.
* I like the market experience.
* Multiple markets to choose from though only one is really close

Market Cons:
* Difficult if I have to bring all of the kids
* We will probably stick to our current vegetable amounts and varieties
* The local market is brand new this year so I don't know how many vendors will be there

Any thoughts?

March 6, 2010

Preschool Update

Continuing the updates...onto school.

Katrina and Alex are still doing Academy on Fridays. They are together for the first three periods (music followed by the assortment class - activities, snack, science experiments, stories, crafts, playtime, etc). Then Alex stays with the younger preschoolers for another assortment class based on letter of the week - coloring, story, Bible, play, etc and Katrina and the older preschoolers join the K-2's for gym class. Neither of them have anything structured in the afternoon. They usually join in the active games (often dodgeball, tag, or nerf guns) or playing house with their friends.

Katrina at home:
ABC-123: Been pleased with this in general. Overall I think I don't like how the math and phonics were in the same book. The math was cute (mainly number concepts to 20) but things she already knew. The phonics in the beginning was quite challenging for her but she has come a long way with it and now it seems to be right on for her. She is sounding out three letter short vowel words pretty well and we are starting on long vowel. I think it would have been better had the two subjects not been linked since she is at two different levels but it worked.

Get Ready, Get Set, Go for the Code: Katrina has like these - fun and pretty easy/straightforward. She is almost finished with the last book. The books have done the same skill introducing each letter in the alphabet and some basic handwriting practice. Because of them she is great at beginning sounds of words.

Math-U-See: I'm not a huge fan but Katrina seems to really like it (loves the video aspect) and she seems to be getting it. We've done shapes, counting, place value to 100's and now we are beginning adding. If we are given the next level I may let her keep going in it since it is fun for her but I won't be purchasing this.

Create-A-Calendar: I had always somewhat laughed at this idea thinking it was more of a craft than a learning tool (not that that is bad to have a craft!) but I really see it as a fun learning tool now. Katrina thinks she is just playing with stickers but is learning the days of the week, months of the year, number order, seasons, holidays, birthdays, etc. She's having a ball with it! I think I would do this for her again.

Letters and Sounds: Alex didn't get into this book as much as Katrina did. He mainly draws giant circles on the pages. But he feels involved and has fun. Don't know how much he has actually learned...

Numbers and Skills: Again going slowly. He likes any cutting and pasting days.

Reading list: Moving along on this. They seem to like the individual stories better than the ones in treasury editions, even the ones that have all the pictures of the originals in it. In the future I may post what we read and ones I really liked. Animals have been a big hit.

March 3, 2010

Rolls, Capes, and Princesses

Continuing with the updates I figured kids would be next...

Tristan has changed the most in the past few months. He is now rolling around, playing with toys, and has received his first war wound (nerf gun...not the dart, the actual the head while he was nursing).

Max has joined the Batman fan club. He now wears capes and plays with figurines along with the big kids. All of the superheroes seem to be called Batman at this point. He is quite a ham - singing (read more as yelling) into toys pretending they are microphones, saying things then breaking into hysterical laughter, chasing Steve the cat, and conquering the sledding hill.

Alex is still president of the Batman fan club. Daily attire is a costume, Batman is clean but Superman will do in a pinch, or a Batman cape and underwear. Makes for less laundry so I'm not complaining.

Katrina is still running the show. She is an honorary member of the Batman fan club though is often a princess or dinosaur that is visiting the Super Friends.

Back to the Blog

Things have been in flux here lately...hence the break from the blog. So I guess some updates would be fitting for awhile.

First major change: House - we left our large, country Wheatland Center Road house and moved into one of our rentals, a small, city house, as a temporary home.

The thoughts behind this seemingly insane move? The end goal is to buy a house close to our rental properties and Justin's work which is mainly on the east side of the city, one that doesn't require a TON of maintenance and remodeling. The Wheatland house was an old farm house that Justin was in the process of remodeling. Even when the remodeling was done, bring a pre-1900s house, it was going to need continual upkeep. It had 6 acres - 3 of which we mowed. We heated it with coal which meant tending the stove. Don't get me wrong - the Wheatland house was a fun house. But we are looking to simplify things in our lives right now and that house was far from simple. Moving to the city simplified our living in many ways - heat was only a turn of the thermostat away, no remodeling or major ongoing maintenance, minimal yard maintenance, close to the rental properties, Justin's work and life in general.

Why not move only once; why move into the city when you know you are moving again? We decided it would be much easier to finish the remodeling process without living in the construction. Justin could leave his tools out without having the kids "helping" during the day while he is at work. It will also be a lot easier to show the place without having to clean it and leave every time.