Sunday, August 15, 2010

Just Like Me

Growing up in a large family in a small town had its advantages. My parents felt safe letting us wander and explore. We had a great time as kids. I didn’t like, however, when someone would identify me by my looks and say, “I can tell you’re one of the Naumann girls. You look just like your sisters!” I don’t know why it bugged me, but it did. It got to the point that I would avoid the conversations altogether. If someone would say, “Aren’t you one of those Naumann girls?” I would change the subject or walk away.

One recent afternoon, we decided to meet some friends at the movie theater. With my kids and niece (adopted from Ethiopia) in tow, we loaded up the van and headed out. As we were driving down the highway, my niece commented that she was excited that her new neighbors have a daughter with “skin that is just like me.” At that point, my daughter added that the friends we were meeting at the movie theater have a daughter (adopted from Korea) with skin, hair and eyes “just like me.” The conversation continued with each girl discussing how they like being around people that look like them. Their conversation made me reminisce at how different things are for them. While I didn’t like it when people said my sisters looked “just like me,” these girls LOVED it when they are recognized as looking similar to their friends.

When we arrived at the movie theater, my daughter jumped out of the van and ran to her friend. She put her arms around her, looked at her cousin with a huge grin and said, “Look, she is just like me.” (Which made her friend giggle and smile.) At that point, all three girls and my four-year-old (Caucasian) son linked arms and walked into the theater together. A European-, Korean-, Chinese-, Ethiopian-American human chain.

No matter how hard I try, I don’t think I’ll ever truly understand how very important it is to my daughter to have friends that look like her. But, the smile on her face and the extra confidence in her step after having spent time with her friends is evidence enough for me that this is a very important part of her development. After all, I have to admit that I while it bugged me, a part of me felt a sense of belonging when people said my sisters looked “just like me.”


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Knead Some Doh?

It's always a challenge keeping our children entertained and occupied. My daughter and I spend a lot of time making different projects and crafts. In 2008, we began our journey "greening" our home and becoming a little more eco-friendly. Not over the top, but little steps to maintain a healthier lifestyle. One thing I am always concerned about is the amount of toxins in products and toys that my daughter plays with. So, when I stumbled upon an organic recipe for play-doh that I found online, I was very anxious to try it out.

It was very easy to make and uses the ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen. We make a fresh batch monthly and keep it stored in the refrigerator. We have experimented using different colors and color combinations. My daughter enjoys making and playing with the play-doh and I enjoy knowing it is a safe and harmless product!

Organic Play-Doh Recipe

2 cups flour

1/2 cup salt

1/4 cup cream of tartar

2 cups cold water

2 tbsp. canola or *olive oil

2 drops each of four different food colors

In a large mixing bowl, blend together flour, salt and cream of tartar.

In a cold non-stick sauce pan, add 1/2 cup cold water and two drops of food coloring. Swirl to mix. Add 1/2 tbsp. of canola or olive oil and stir with spoon.

Scoop in 1/2 cup dry ingredients and thorougly mix, forming a uniform paste.

Gently heat on medium-low heat, stirring the mixture, as it will quickly solidify. Roll it in the sauce pan; kenad the dough with spoon to cook. When smooth, remove it from heat and allow it to cool.

Start next batch with a new, cold pan. Repeat for remaining three batches.

Store in air tight container in refrigerator for one month.

*I ran out of canola oil one time and substituted with olive oil and had the same results

Marla Boyle

Director of Communications