Thursday, April 24, 2008

Too much stuff!

Have you watched the 20-minute movie entitled "The Story of Stuff" yet? I just did.

I already had an aversion to stuff. I know I have amassed a bunch of stuff over the years, despite the fact that I really don't like to shop. Every few years we "purge" some of our stuff, and we absolutely cannot believe how much stuff we have that we need to get rid of.

I'm glad I watched the movie. I think the maker is pretty left-wing, and even though I am pretty right-wing, I still agree with much of what she says, especially about how we became a nation of consumers. I also agree that it would be best if we consumed a bit less.

Don't we all remember when we were kids and it seemed like we had a lot of stuff, but it was nothing compared to what kids have today?

Check it out:

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Flour Power

I want to share with you a very educational post about flour. It seems I thought I just had to pay attention to whether I was using all-purpose or self-rising flour. I've seen pastry flour in stores, and even noticed terms like durum wheat, hard wheat, soft wheat, etc., but now I feel so much more knowledgeable having read the Nourishing Gourmet's following post. It's great to know what type of flour to use in certain recipes so your food does not fall apart (too little gluten) or be too tough & heavy (too much gluten).

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Thrill of the Chase - and Mixed Messages

The thrill of the chase. It is thrilling to chase and to be chased. My children love it, my dog loves it, the squirrels around my house love it. Aspects of it lie in most sports and playground games. There must be something very natural about it. You've heard the saying "you should play hard to get," meaning that the other person (usually the guy) enjoys the pursuit and yawns when there is none.

I've been thinking about this concept a lot lately, as Connor chases Noelle around. He always loves it. Most of the time she does, too. In fact, some of her best laughter comes during their games of chase. Connor is learning to notice the fine line between fun and frustrating. Noelle lets him know when she's frustrated by screaming very loudly.

I'm glad that Connor gets these learning opportunities, because I want him to know when to stop because he's about to cross a line, and when to continue because it's fun for all. What a great lesson for a young man to get.

However, occasionally I notice Noelle giving mixed messages. She is just about 16 months old, and cannot completely understand what she is doing. I believe there is something natural about what she's doing. I see the look on her face that says, very clearly: "come and get me!" I see the coy smile she flashes - sometimes at the beginning of the chase (where it's expected), but sometimes right after she's screamed and Connor has stopped. As if she has noticed her power in the situation and is enjoying it.

Now I see that as she grows older, I need to really teach her about mixed messages, and the dangers in them. I feel sorry for the guys, as mixed messages are very confusing.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Traveler IQ Challenge

This site makes you feel smart sometimes and not so smart other times. Very fun, and a little educational, too. You are clicking on a map where you think particular places are located.

Traveler IQ Challenge

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Easy Homemade Pizza

I have to share with you a new favorite of ours - Easy Homemade Pizza. I have always been a bit daunted by the thought of homemade pizza, mostly because I don't have the time or patience to make homemade pizza crust dough.

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to Ms. Betsy's home as part of a small dinner party. She let us each put our choice of toppings on - - - a tortilla! At first, we thought: that is so wrong! A tortilla is for Mexican food and pizza is Italian food. But the kids (and adults) had fun spreading the pizza sauce on their tortilla, and sprinkling their choice of toppings on top. Into the oven it went, and then when the toppings were sufficiently cooked, out it came, and it was delicious! The crust was a lot like a thin-and-crispy crust.

Of course, we had to try it at home, since pizza is a favorite, and we each like different toppings. So I bought some pizza sauce & pepperonis at the store next time I was there. We almost always have cheese, tortillas, and other toppings at home. I use the whole wheat, low-carb, high fiber, high protein tortillas, which makes it a bit healthier. I put the tortilla pizza straight on the wire rack in the toaster oven, and toast on the medium setting. Voila! Easy homemade pizza.

Each person can pick their own toppings, and kids can help make their own. Once you bring it out of the oven, lay it on a cutting board. Let it cool a few minutes, and cut it with a pizza cutter.