Had a great summer camping all over the northwest. couldn’t avoid the bugs however. thought we were prepared with repellent, but alas some bugs still buzzed through our defenses and zapped the tender skin of my children. Started making my own insect repellent a couple years ago before going on a cruise to the Caribbean. Ended up with a great formulation that worked in the jungles of central america and was in a solid base of shea butter and beeswax so I could take it on the plane without tsa confiscating it. However, I forgot what I put in it!! ARGHHH! It was some mixture of citronella oil, and other random oils from my giant collection. Starting over.
The list of effective oils includes cinnamon, vanilla extract, citronella oil, catnip, lemongrass and peppermint oil. You can combine them to your liking in a spray bottle with a carrier (some sort of oil… castor or olive and alcohol) or mix in a solid of shea butter and beeswax with almond oil. Will try to recreate the perfect blend and WRITE IT DOWN this time.
At my kids’ school, there’s been a discussion brewing about how much homework elementary kids should have. My thought has been that the benefits of homework are that:
1. it builds certain skills (multiplication tables for example)
2. it builds study skills
3. it creates good habits
I started at our local library to see what books were out there on this subject. Found 3 recent books. Two of them
did not even discuss whether or not homework was appropriate, but rather counseling parents on how to deal with the voluminous homework that is assigned. I scanned through these books and was completely unimpressed — time management skills and patience were all that was discussed.
Then started on
and finally, this is what I was looking for. Discussion of research, the benefits of homework, actual case studies and data supporting little to no homework for pre-high schoolers. Interesting discussion of the policies of homework and the actual data showing that the “dumbing down of America” is not a fact. Highly recommend this book!
Came up with a new recipe recently and have taken it to some events and received rave reviews! My kids love it and it’s super easy to make! Here ya go:
Quinoa Caprese Salad
2 cups quinoa (cooked in 4 cups water then cooled)
1 cup pesto
1 cup fresh mozzarella balls
1/4 cup basil leaves cut chiffonade (thin strips)
1 cup grape tomatoes cut in half
juice from 1 lemon
salt, pepper to taste
Cook quinoa and cool. Mix in the pesto (add more or less if necessary) and lemon juice til well mixed. Can be kept in fridge at this stage overnight. Right before serving stir in mozzarella, basil and tomatoes. Season to taste. Enjoy!
A friend recommended this book on Facebook and I thought it looked interesting. Fortunately, our local library had it. The book is written from the perspective of a therapist who has run workshops for women wanting to lose weight. I was talking to a young man (son of a friend) recently and we were talking about the issue of eating. He was astounded that people would eat for any other reason besides being hungry! His astonished question “you mean you eat when you’re not hungry???” is the crux of the whole book. The auther uses stories and experiences to help women dig down and understand the deep-rooted reasons why they eat. For some, perhaps you eat because your afraid, or lonely or nervous. Okay, so why is that…. Once you get to the bottom of it, deal with the issue and then reframe your eating and truly eat just when you’re hungry.
Just finished reading “Dandelion Hunter, Foraging the Urban Wilderness” by Rebecca Lerner. It was just published, I had come across it in several blogs and websites I follow, so was excited to see it at our local library. The author is from Portland, so I was doubly excited to be reading something local. The book was very easy to read – took me 3 evenings.
Anecdotal stories were fun an interesting so it was a pleasure to read. However, the content left a little to be desired. Perhaps my expectations were unrealistic…. It’s basically a story of a woman setting out to find edibles in her local urban environment. I was disappointed there were no diagrams of plants or even something to add to the story. Portland is a very left-wing area and so it’s not surprising that she shares these views, however I was dismayed to find them in her book. There was a section discussing why we are not able to forage as effectively as the native population did and it was pointed out that this is because we live in dense cities with cement, sidewalks, parking lots, roads, etc… places that plants can’t grow wild. The authors comment was that this is another indicator of how corporations are evil. It was also a little off-putting that the first few recipes in the back are all for rolling-your-own smokes. I don’t think it’s wrong, certainly believe that you have the right to do what you want to your body, but with her assumption in some of the stories and then with these recipes that everyone will want to smoke, I’m not letting my kids read it.
Overall, a disappointing book because it could have been so much more….
Most every kid loves animals, but if you don’t want the responsibility of a dog, the dander of a cat or the scent of a sea lion, then Triops or Sea Monkeys might be the right choice for you. We have raised both types of creatures and they are very different. Sea Monkeys are a type of brine shrimp. The eggs are stable in the packet for a very long time, so if you follow the directions on the packet (purify water first etc…) then you should have good success.
Triops are a little touchier to hatch, but still fairly easy. If you are worried about the environment, you probably want to be sure to purchase from the right company — Toyops (triops.com) raises theirs in a lab and so you can be sure they are responsibly harvested. Other companies (such as those licensed by Smithsonian) are reputed to be harvested from the wild and so I won’t buy them.
Not that it ever rains in Portland, but on the off-chance that someday it *might* I have a list of activities my kids love:
1. visit OMSI
2. watch a movie at
3. play board games at home (Settlers of Catan is our current favorite)
4. bake/cook (I was going to write “with kids” but that could be mistaken as cooking your children, which we wouldn’t do )
5. play interactive games on the Wii or Playstation or whatever you have
If you’re looking for a new knife sharpener, checkout toolpeddler.com
My years of doing SEO (search engine optimization) have left an indelible mark on my brain. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. In this case, become.com has offered cold hard cash to promote a few of their categories — so I’m all for it. If you’re shopping for a palm leaf rug then you can do some comparison shopping online. If you need peach rugs they have those two. If you’re decorating your house, area rugs are one of the easiest items to change, so it’s fun to mix it up a bit.
Spring is coming up and the season of love and weddings and bridal registry. Check out their great selection of antique pearl handle silverware
Shameless promotion done. now back to regular programming!