Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sweetening Up Mom

I was trying to get Carolyn to lay down for a nap with me Saturday. I knew I needed one, and figured it wouldn't hurt her either. She wouldn't have anything to do with it, though. I finally got her to lay down on Jamie's pillow for .0013 seconds, long enough for her to say, "Hey! It smells like dad!" Then she wanted to try my pillow. "Your pillow smells like you!" It was an exciting discovery for her. I asked her, "What do I smell like?" "Chocolate chip cookies!!" I took that as a fine compliment. She said Jamie smells like chocolate.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Our family has a new favorite veggie - edamame, or soy beans. Jamie discovered it first, and I must admit my first try at it didn't impress me much. I love them more every time we have them. A few months ago we discovered them in pod in the frozen veggies section for about $1.50/bag, and just the other day Jamie brought some home from Smith's already shelled in a bigger bag.

From, "Some call edamame the super or wonder vegetable because it is the only vegetable that contains all nine essential amino acids. This makes edamame a complete protein source, similar to meat or eggs. Edamame also contains isoflavonoids. They are found in all soy products and are being studied for their health benefits."

Everyone in the family likes them except Adam, who has a tough time with anything green anyway. He finally decided to try lettuce here and there, so maybe one of these days he'll warm up to these too.

It's great everyone likes them since they are so healthy, but we almost have to divvy out the unshelled beans to make sure everyone gets their share. The shelled bags were an excellent find. They come with a LOT more, and hey, no shells to deal with. After eating our fill with dinner, we even had leftovers we pulled out and heated up the next day. Almost unbelieveable, kids walking by the kitchen counter, tossing BEANS down the hatch for a snack. But I swear, it is true.

Either way they are easy to cook. Pop the whole bag in the microwave for the set time and voila, that's it. We like to sprinkle coarse kosher salt on them. YUMMY!

This article talks about some silly celebrity diet using the beans, but it has a lot of info about them, including their recently found 'posh-ness.'

Have you tried them?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Jumping into Summer

Summer officially began June 21. Sammy brought that in with a bang... and 7 stitches. He was playing across the street at a neighbor's and took a forehead to the edge of their open truck door. He got the stitches out yesterday, everything is looking good.

Today Erin got bit twice by wasps (they had a nest on the swingset seat she was sitting on), and Carolyn swallowed a penny.

Hooray for summer!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Maybe I'm the only sun know-nothing out there, but just in case, I want to share a bit of what I learned today. See, out of the five kids, I've got two that seem like they are constantly getting sunburned. I think we've got the problem licked in the beginning of spring after we have our first round of sunburns and we're back into lathering sunscreen on, but then we get it again. And again. And again.

After sending Sammy off to day camp today lathered with sunscreen plus more to reapply and a sunburned chest and back from swimming a couple days in a row (at least that will be covered), I popped online to check the temp for today. A bit cooler than the past couple of days, but still hot. I noticed the 11+ UV rating, and decided to check that out.

First, the general about UV. "The ozone layer shields the Earth from harmful UV radiation. Ozone depletion, weather, and the seasons cause different amounts of UV radiation to reach the Earth. The UV Index tells you how much. It predicts the next day's UV levels on a 1-11+ scale that helps you decide what to do to be safe in the sun" (italics added).

So down to the 11+ rating. "A UV Index reading of 11 or higher means extreme risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. Try to avoid sun exposure during midday hours, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 liberally every 2 hours" (again, italics added). The 8-10 rating doesn't include the every two hours part, so I guess that's what we were missing. I assume the UV rating was lower before, so applying when they headed out in the afternoon covered them for the rest of the day, or at least long enough it wasn't a problem. Not that I think they are saying to apply in the morning, be out all day, and you'll be fine. But when the rating is 11+, be extra cautious!

Really, am I the only one that missed this? Hopefully in sharing my stupidity I can save someone else the pain and suffering! I guess we'll be setting a timer to know when we need to sunscreen up again.

By the way, I pulled this information off, so feel free to check that out for more info.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Honesty and Growing Up

Decluttering has been such a challenge to me for years, I'm so amazed at all the insight I've been getting the past several months.

One recently, honesty. I've learned I have to be honest with myself. Am I REALLY going to use this? Do the kids really like this? Has it been that beneficial to me and my family sitting here in this box or cluttering our home? Could someone else put it to better use than we have, and really love and enjoy it? It used to be so much harder to get rid of things, rationalizing that there would come a time that the whatever would be important to us, maybe a NEED even, and knotting up inside over it all. It's wonderful feeling so much more free and have so much more faith in the future.

Speaking of the future, I am GROWING UP. This is actually very shocking to me. Yes I've got 5 children, but as a neighbor told me the other day, I'm just a kid at heart. No wonder I'm so stinkin' fun! But I'm passing on things that tie me to my past, recent or not-so-recent, and the future feels so much closer and more promising. As the scriptures tell us, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things" (1 Corinthians 13:11). To me "childish things" could be things that hold me back from my potential, or things I've already gotten my fill of. I've got plenty of things that were really meaningful to me at some point, we'll say CDs for example, but I've soaked everything I can out of them and they are just here hanging out. If I'm honest with myself I know they'll never be that important to me again, and I need to pass them on so they can be meaningful to someone else.

So there are two great decluttering mantras for today: Be honest with yourself, and put away childish things.

Books on the Shelf

I was cleaning off the bookshelf on my side of the bed today. I pulled off all the beloved favorites that I know I'm not going to read for a while, though some of the recently reads had to stay and remind me of the greatness they hold within. Then I used the extra space to put the new books waiting to be read and the others to reread again soon properly on the shelf, rather than piled on the shelves in front of or on top of the others. It's great looking at a fresh bookshelf with a whole lot of potential for greatness. New faces I don't know yet, old friends I keep going back to. I feel like I'm allowing myself to become more by putting off some of the old for a while.

Do your books talk to you? All I have to do is look at some of them and I get the same feeling I did when I finished them and just held the closed book for a while, soaking it all in.

Here are a few fun book quotes from something I copied years ago that I found while taking the deshelved books to my boxes downstairs:

"When I am reading a book, whether wise or silly, it seems to me to be alive and talking to me." --Jonathan Swift

"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers." --Charles W. Eliot

"A room without books is like a body without a soul." --Cicero

"You are the same today as you will be five years from now except for two things...the people you meet and the books you read." --Charles E. Jones

"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." --Francis Bacon

One I read 8/10/08: “But he who truly loves books loves all books alike, and not only this, but it grieves him that all other men do not share with him this noble passion. Verily, this is the most unselfish of loves!” -- Eugene Field in Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac

One I read 8/17/08: “Books are chocolate for the soul. They don’t make one fat. One need not brush one’s teeth after reading. They are quiet. One can bring them anywhere–no passport required. Books have only one downfall: even the fattest book has a last page, and then one needs a new one again.” --Antonie Schneider

Added 11/29/08: "If time is precious, no book that will not improve by repeated reading deserves to be read at all." --Thomas Carlyle

Added 01/02/09: "Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it." --P.J. O'Rourke

Added 05/11/09: "You must get into the habit of looking intensely at words, and assuring yourself of their meaning, syllable by syllable–nay, letter by letter… you might read all the books in the British Museum (if you could live long enough) and remain an utterly “illiterate,” uneducated person; but if you read ten pages of a good book, letter by letter, — that is to say, with real accuracy– you are for evermore in some measure an educated person." ~John Ruskin

"The books that help you most are those which make you think the most. The hardest way of learning is that of easy reading; but a great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty." ~Theodore Parker

"My education was the liberty I had to read indiscriminately and all the time, with my eyes hanging out." ~Dylan Thomas