movie monday: another episode with cow chicken

Cow Chicken (and Rosalie) from carissaabc on Vimeo.

Posted in stuff that makes me smile, summer, video | 1 Comment

movie monday: hello kitty

to fully appreciate this movie, you need to understand that maryann is usually the more reclusive and non-tolerant kitty.  she hides whenever the happy boy comes around!



Izza + MaryAnn from carissaabc on Vimeo.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

healthy media habits: a personal challenge

happystuffmediachallengei have an addiction. i’m willing to bet lots of money that i am not the only parent with this addiction, but i feel especially guilty about it because i talk to parents as part of my job about limiting their own media use and yet, all too frequently, i find my eyeballs glued to my phone, catching up on facebook posts (sometimes worthwhile, too often clickbait or just a rabbit hole that leads to something else that leads to something else…), twitter updates, blog posts, e-mail, instagram photos and my pinterest feed. it’s one thing to allow myself to sink into this quagmire on my own time, after the kids are in bed when i know i should be doing something more productive or edifying or engaging with a real, live friend (yes, by “liking” their photos, i’m sort of engaging with my facebook friends, but if you look at that list of social media above, too much of it is engaging with online people that i don’t even know.)….. but it’s a whole different pile of awful when i’m scrolling on my screen when my kids are around and maybe even trying to engage with me. ack! this is not the kind of parent i want to be!  this is not how i want to model media use!  i don’t want my kids to shut me out in favor of their phones when they’re teens and this is exactly the road we’re going down!

but here’s the thing–screens are a big part of our lives.  i can’t just say, “i’m going to turn off all screens whenever my kids are awake and with me.” because… that’s not realistic.  i use my phone for recipes, to check the weather forecast, to communicate (texts, e-mails, phone calls) with friends who are trying to schedule playdates or whenever i make appointments of any kind, to do facetime with granna…. screens are not going away anytime soon, so how can i teach my kids to incorporate screens in to their lives in a balanced way?

hooraygrannai have had a lot of success in past years by issuing “challenges” to myself (especially if i can get a few friends to join in the challenge with me), so here’s my healthy media challenge for myself:

–for one week (with the hope that i can sustain this or some measure of this effort much longer than one week) i will consciously limit my phone use during the hours that my children are awake and with me.

–to keep me honest in this effort, i will say, out loud, to my children, what my purpose for using a screen will be anytime that i need to use one (“i am looking for the recipe that we’ll use for tonight’s supper.” “i am checking to see if your friend’s mom e-mailed me back about getting together today.”).

–i will use the screen for that stated purpose and then i will put the screen away when i am done (instead of “just checking” all of my social media sites for updates).

–i will tell my children about this personal challenge so they can help keep me on track.

–i am confessing this to you, the general public, my friends, whoever reads this post, in the hopes that being accountable to someone will help me stick to this.  at least for this one week, so i can observe any differences.

–i may or may not post updates or progress reports online during this week because that would involve more screentime. so let’s just say that i’ll try to post an end-of-week reflection if anything really profound occurs to me during my one-week trial.  or i’ll post a little something if i decide that i love it and want to continue (because i’ll still need to know that you’re all out there watching me, keeping me honest).

who wants to join me?  you can set your own rules or you can use mine.  i’d love to hear from you about your thoughts and experiences.  let’s support each other as we fumble our way towards healthy media modeling.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

movie monday (are you sick of these yet? sorry.) (not sorry.)

How to be a Toddler from carissaabc on Vimeo.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

movie….. saturday! (i can’t wait to show you this one)

How to Enjoy a Tomato from carissaabc on Vimeo.

Posted in baby stuff, laugh, summer, video | 1 Comment

movie monday: haircut!

Isadora's first haircut from carissaabc on Vimeo.

and for reference, here’s gabriel’s first haircut.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

movie monday: flashback to april

chickadee and the monster 3 from carissaabc on Vimeo.

Posted in baby stuff, video | Leave a comment

movie monday: the happy little baby takes the stairs

isadora takes the stairs from carissaabc on Vimeo.

Posted in baby stuff, video | 1 Comment

movie monday: swinging!

izza swings from carissaabc on Vimeo.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

starting a salad swap

IMGP0339at the beginning of this summer, i was reading a blog (sorry, can’t remember which one) that made a passing comment (i believe it was facetious) that her new diet plan was “eat a salad every day.” while this “diet plan” came with absolutely zero further explanation or scientific back-up, it seemed like a pretty solid goal nonetheless. i was ashamed to think about how many days sometimes passed between salads in my menu. i decided to try eating a salad every day (or at least closer to every day) for awhile. trouble was, i didn’t want to eat the same salad 5 days in a row and i didn’t want to have a bunch of rotting produce in my refrigerator and so the concept of the salad swap was born.

IMGP0332i e-mailed my church and asked if anyone else would like to participate.  here were the basics:

1. we decided to swap mason jar salads.  everyone needed to find wide-mouth mason jars, as many as they want to swap each week.

2. if anyone wanted to join the swap but had dietary restrictions or preferences, they needed to give the group a heads-up so that things could be left out of one jar for them.

3. each week, whoever is in town and wants to participate brings as many jars as they want to swap.  i usually aim for 5 days a week, so i make 5 jars of the same salad and take 4 to church to swap and keep one jar of my own salad at home.  some weeks there might only be 3 participants and we take home a few duplicate salads. other weeks, there are 6 or 7 people participating and we choose whichever salads look tastiest to us.

4. we agreed to be honest with feedback as we were all learning together the best way to build a salad in a jar. so if by day 5 the nuts in one of the salads had lost their crunch, or if the avocado had turned unappealingly brown, we sent an e-mail and all learned that maybe twisting some of those ingredients in a bit of plastic wrap and tuck them into the top of the jar, they last a little longer.  i found this blog post particularly helpful.

5. each week, anyone who wants to swap, tucks their salads into the refrigerator at church and right after the service, we meet up in the kitchen to swap jars and let others know if there’s any special notes (e.g. “mine has avocado, so you might not want to leave it until the end of the week”).

IMGP0337although a church-based swap works well for me, i could see this also working well with a group of co-workers or neighbors.

everyone in our swap has been so excited about this idea. it feels “like christmas” to find out what salads we’re getting each week!  i think each of us try to make an extra special salad since we know we’re sharing it with others and there have been some truly incredible combinations (i still can’t stop thinking about the one that had a curry dressing, chickpeas, crunchy roasted almonds and homemade pickles.  sooooo good!). and it’s so easy to grab a jar each morning while packing lunches for work!  yes, i’d say that prep-time on sunday afternoons can sometimes take an hour or more, but that’s usually my own fault for picking complicated recipes.  our family is also trying a csa for the first time this year and i’ve enjoyed the challenge of finding recipes that match the contents of our box each week.

IMGP0343i also finally found a use for this basket that i think was a wedding gift.  i think maybe it was supposed to hold silverware or napkins for a picnic, but it works great for hauling jars safely to church each week.

i highly recommend trying out a salad swap for yourself!

Posted in clean, summer, yum | 2 Comments