First Little Free Library in Stevens Point

May 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

Reposted from http://ci.stevens-point.wi.us/.

If you’re interested in donating books to the Little Free Library, please contact us.

Central Wisconsin Holistic Families is excited to be the stewards of the first Little Free Library in Stevens Point. Located in Mead Park near KASH playground, the LFL will be stocked with family-oriented books to benefit the community. The way it works is simple:

• The LFL is stocked with a variety of good quality books that we hope will interest the community
• Community members are welcome to borrow any book they’d like
• Continue to visit and bring books to contribute
• LFL books are always a gift – never for sale!

Little Free Library is a movement started by Todd Bol of Hudson, WI and Rick Brooks of Madison, WI in 2010, and has grown to include little libraries in most states and dozens of countries. Little Free Library’s mission is to:

• Promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.
• Foster a sense of community and connection as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.
• Build more than 2,510 libraries around the world (the number of “real” libraries built by Andrew Carnegie)!

Read the complete LFL story at LittleFreeLibrary.org

Following recipes? Or just mixing it all together…

December 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

“Ummmm…” My husband and I stared at the pan. We had intended to make nut brittle for our Holiday Toy Exchange, but something had gone horribly awry. This treat was definitely not as pretty as intended. We didn’t want to waste the perfectly good sugar, pecans, and walnuts, so after a bit more grumbling, I devised a plan.

There would be cookies. I would call them “Oops-a-daisy cookies,” and I would hope they, you know, tasted good.

We bashed the botched brittle into small pieces, picked out a few cookie recipes for some guidance, and went to work.

This is what I find most fascinating about relationships that really work. Instead of dwelling on “This happened,” or “What should we doooooo?”, so often the conversation shifts more to “I can help. I’ll do this.” We don’t dwell on the negative. We move forward.

This is also how Central Wisconsin Holistic Families managed to pull together a successful Holiday Toy Exchange, despite the fact that so few of us regularly interact in person.

From “We could give away toys that we don’t want any longer,” to “It’d be nice to have a food drive,” to “Why don’t we have a gift exchange” to a chorus of yeses and offers to help, we ended up with a “delicious” event despite our lack of clear recipe.

My favorite thing about working with the Central Wisconsin Holistic Families group is not just that the parents share similar ideals and hopes for their families, but also that we share a similar approach to creating family. It’s not just about what one person does, but also what we can do together.

We contributed our own unique ingredients, and in the end, we had:

  • gift bags, gift wrapping, and bows to share and reuse
  • an abundance of paper and plastic grocery bags to make things easier to carry
  • yummy holiday treats
  • 11 new gifts donated by local businesses for a drawing
  • 50+ smiling attendees in less than two hours
  • Hardly any remaining toys!
  • 20-some bags of canned goods to deliver to Place of Peace

Oops-a-daisy cookies 

Makes somewhere between 12 and 24 smallish cookies, not so gluten-free

Ingredients:

About three cups of bashed apart, unsuccessful nut brittle (alternatively, about one cup of sugar and one cup of pecans and walnuts – if using this, mix the sugar with the butter in the first step)

One egg

One stick butter, melted

1/2 cup olive oil (because two sticks of butter seems appalling, and this makes you feel better)

1 teaspoon vanilla

2-3 cups flour

A cup or so of oatmeal (you’re almost out, so just shake some into the bowl until it looks right)

The rest of the bag of chocolate chips, chopped (about 1/4 cup)

A few handfuls of cherry-flavored craisins (even more appealing to children when referred to as “Cherry Berries”)

A drizzle of maple syrup, because it seemed like a good idea

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (also because it seemed like a good idea)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Mix the melted butter with the oil and let it cool a bit so that you don’t cook the egg.

2. Beat in the egg. If using normal sugar, add that now, too.

3. Add vanilla

4. Mix the flour in, and mash things around. Add a little more if it seems too sticky.

5. Toss in the oatmeal, craisins, chocolate chips and nuts (or busted brittle).

6. Mash that around a little bit until pretty well-mixed, then put in the fridge for a while until you get sick of waiting.

7. The dough might be pretty stiff. Roll it into ping-pong-sized balls with your hands, and place on greased cookie sheets. If it turns out anything like ours did, it won’t spread very much, but it’ll taste yummy.

8. Try not to eat all of it right away. Sharing is more fun.

Home Remedies

November 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

I felt a little silly, leading a discussion on home remedies when my entire family was sick.

For weeks, we’ve been sniffing and sneezing and mostly coughing. Annoying, but still not serious enough for a doctor, so I was looking forward to hearing any new magical tips from the other families in our group.

Unfortunately, no one keeps a fairy wand in their first aid kit, but I was thankful for the reminders (oh, right, sleep is pretty darn important) and new tidbits that I learned. I’ve been thinking about using comfrey since Amy mentioned it, and then later ran across this post, which makes me want to make pine needle tea!

Eating well, nourishing ourselves, resting, and spending time outside seem like such obvious solutions for keeping ourselves and our families healthy, especially as the seasons grow colder, but it’s easy to fall off track when my own brain is clouded with congestion.

This season, I’m thankful for the Holistic Families who help to remind me what’s best for my family!

Back to school? Learning about homeschooling

September 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

The more I read about homeschooling options, the more enthralled I become, but as a daughter, sister, and friend of several public school teachers, I’ve been hesitant to start the conversation. This is why, when Jackie first contacted our group about possibilities for a cottage school in the area, I enthusiastically invited her to share more about her experience with homeschooling for one of our meetings.

The potential for creativity and exploration with the freedom of charting your own course or even unschooling is especially appealing, the more I see the effect that people and places have on my own children. Jackie reminded us repeatedly that what has worked for her family with the Enki curriculum is just one of many options that we have for homeschooling, and that what we choose for our families, we will likely choose after researching options on our own and learning what works best for us.

With tools like multi-colored playsilks and meditation cards, Jackie showed us how she uses creativity and story-telling to teach her children. She shared some of her favorite books and local resources as well as some examples of her daughter’s artwork. Some books that caught my eye included this Creative Play for your Toddler book filled with beautiful project ideas and The Creative Family. There are a few options for homeschooling groups in the area, and Jackie recommended connecting with the Wisconsin Parents Association and checking out their handbook for any questions about the specifics of homeschooling in Wisconsin.

I’m still not sure exactly how school with my own children will work out, but Jackie helped remind me that there’s no one way to do this, and that we can change and adapt our choices as we learn more about our family and our educational options.

What can we do?

August 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

It’s easy to think that the things we do every day aren’t so special, but when thinking of ways that we can help the mothers and families in our community, some of those not-so-special skills can be quite valuable to others.

What can we do? Well, it turns out, we can do a lot. Here’s just a sampling of some of the talents and expertise offered and requested at our August meeting:

  • Gardening
  • Nursing advice
  • Cloth diapers
  • Meal sharing
  • Short babysitting shifts
  • Help with errands
  • Fitness/exercise tips
  • Cleaning
  • Painting
  • Sewing
  • Organizing
  • Scrapbooking
  • Computer/Technical help
  • Dog walking
  • Remodeling or small repairs

What’s the next step? Just ask! The more comfortable we get with asking for help when we need it, our stress can only decrease, leaving us happier and healthier and more able to care for our families and community.

Adaptation

June 28, 2011 § 1 Comment

Sometimes things don’t go as planned.

Sometimes, even though you’ve planned on having to wait at least nine months to successfully adopt a little girl, you hear the good news four months earlier. Sometimes, you end up going to get that little girl faster than expected, with just a few days notice. Sometimes, you forget your luggage and have to spend a week in Texas (why is it so hot and boring?) with the few extras you bought from Target stored in a plastic bag. Sometimes, Texas surprises you by allowing you to go home a day sooner than you planned. And wow, this little girl is amazing.

Or perhaps, your son is six months old and you’re celebrating your second wedding anniversary the day you learn that your husband will be deployed in a few months, and you feel like your entire world is falling apart. You end up moving halfway across the country, back to your childhood home where you feel trapped by snow and ice and no public transport, and your favorite shampoo FROZE in the back of the moving truck, so you can’t even relax properly. And then you eventually decide to stay, anyways, and you really like your house, even when there’s way too much snow.

Sometimes, you have big plans for a perfect Holistic Moms Open House at the library, complete with guest tables, door prizes, and other fancy, joyful things, and then you show up and wow, the library has summer hours, and you can’t even get in, and it seems like all of your plans have been destroyed. So then, you end up going to a park and meeting a bunch of old and new and wonderful people, and you’re thankful that the Holistic Mom meeting is outside this month, because it’s just so nice outside, and KASH park is pretty fun… oh, and there are brownies!

If there’s one thing being a mother has taught me, it’s not only the power of adapting and making the best of situations, but also, I’ve learned that so many times, when we think there’s no way things could get worse, those incredibly stressful situations lead us to new, fantastic things.

If I hadn’t let go of everything else to take a trip to Texas, I wouldn’t have met my daughter. If I hadn’t accepted that moving back to Wisconsin was the best choice for our family, I wouldn’t have the life that I have now. If we hadn’t come up with our new plan for the Open House, we would have been stuck with feeling defeated, instead of finding renewed energy, conversation, and great ideas for future activities.

Always know, no matter how terrible things seem today, it will get better. And if you need someone to remind you of that, join us for a meeting or two and surround yourself with like-minded, supportive parents!

May: Celebrating Mothers

May 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

May 2011Dear Holistic Mom supporters and members,

It was great learning more about compost from Rochelle Towne last month. I wrote about some of the highlights here, and I’ve found myself implementing some of her tips as we prep our gardens this spring.

Celebration of Mothering

At 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 10 at the Portage County Public Library, we’ll be celebrating mothers, sharing a potluck, stories, blessings, and wisdom. There will be music and other random bits of awesomeness. Bring food if you can, but if it’s the only thing holding you back, come anyways. We like to see you more than casserole. That’s saying something. And please feel free to bring your families!

Pesticides and learning

Warren Porter, a researcher and presenter from UW-Madison, wrote a fact sheet about how pesticides affect children’s learning and will be presenting new findings on the subject on Monday, May 9. He will be speaking at 6:30 p.m. at the Portage County Public Library.

Enjoy your Mother’s Day weekend!

Chelsea

P.S. Not a member yet? That’s okay, we still like you. You can check out our website, learn more about the Holistic Moms network and membership online or just come to our next meeting!

P.P.S. Join or renew your HMN membership in May and save $5. Just use the coupon code MOM2011. More details here.

For the love of dirt

May 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Rochelle Towne, who blogs at Talking to Plants, shared many great tips on composting for our April meeting.

Some of my favorites:

  • Good compost is still living! There should be good organisms in your soil.
  • You don’t need anything fancy for your compost container. You don’t even really need a container.
  • After one year, start a new pile and work on turning your old pile at least once in the summer and once in late fall.
  • 3′ x 3′ x 3′ is a good, manageable size for your compost pile.
  • Before applying your compost, you can sift the contents to get a better texture of soil.
  • A ratio of 3:1 or higher for carbon to nitrogen is ideal.
  • Balancing wet, dry, and a bit of soil is best to ensure quality compost.
  • When weeding, bring a bucket with you and put any perennial, creeping, rhizomes, and seeding weeds into the bucket. Don’t put these weeds in your compost, because they’ll probably just plague you further. It’s really hard to get your compost pile to a high enough temperature to break the weeds down completely. The best option is to burn or trash the weeds so they don’t continue to spread.
  • Anything bigger around than your finger won’t break down as well.
  • Chicken, cow and horse manure will work well for compost. Any other types of manure are best composted separately or in an area with non-food plants.
  • Pot ash sweetens the soil and is good for sustaining plants over winters. It helps berries and other plants gather nutrients for the winter and it strengthens stems.
  • Plant spinach, beans, and peas in cold weather. Tina plants hers before she can even rake.
  • Peas and beans are “nitrogen fixing” plants.
  • Best fungicide for the black spots on roses and white powdery fungus on lilacs: A mix of 50% milk (at least 2% fat) and 50% water in a spray bottle.

April: Thinking and dreaming of green

April 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Dear Holistic Mom supporters and members,

Happy Spring! Our Spring Cleaning Swap was lovely and lively. Tina received a Frances England cd for bringing such an abundance of items, and we agreed that Melissa should get the Elizabeth Mitchell cd as a prize for the great story behind her “Peace Corps scarf.”

The snow is melting just in time for our meeting about organic gardening. If you, like me, enjoy playing in dirt but would like a few more tips on how to, you know, get things to grow, you should join us!

Organic gardening

Tuesday, March 8, at 6:30 p.m. on April 12 at the Portage County Public Library, Rachelle Towne will present “A Thinking Person’s Guide to Composting”. Rachelle will share information on improving the quality and nutrient value of your organic compost and will also help answer any organic gardening questions.

Pesticides and learning

Warren Porter, a researcher and presenter from UW-Madison, wrote a fact sheet about how pesticides affect children’s learning and will be presenting new findings on the subject on Monday, May 9. He will be speaking at 6:30 p.m. at the Portage County Public Library.

What’s next?

Earth Day and Screen-free Week is coming up, and to celebrate, I’m taking the entire week off work (avoiding computers helps, see). Meet me at the entrance to the Schmeeckle Reserve Visitor Center at noon on Friday, April 22 for a scavenger hunt and nature walk.

Finally, submit your email address if you’re interested in joining a Community (a.k.a. “HoliSuperMoms”) Support group or a Babysitting Co-op, and we’ll follow up with more details in the next month or so.

Best wishes!

Chelsea

Swap

February 9, 2011 § 2 Comments

Tuesday, March 8, we’re going to have a Swap for our HMN meeting at the Stevens Point Library.

Here’s the plan:

  • Bring at least 10 items: Hats, socks, diaper sprayers, swings – whatever you’re willing to give away.
  • Items should be clean, though obviously, we won’t expect perfect condition.
  • An age range of 0-12 seems useful, though I know a lot of us have small beings.
  • You’re welcome to bring maternity clothing as well.
  • Prepare to share one random story about one of your items.
  • Whatever is not swapped that you do not want to keep or give away on your own can be donated to the HMN account for Other Mothers.
  • There will be treats/snacks (let me know if you want to bring anything).
  • There will be prizes (more details at the meeting!).