Thursday, September 22, 2011

Germs, Germs, Germs

Well, fall is here and cold season is just around the corner.  As a retired Kindee teacher, let me tell you I believe I have seen a ton of germs.  So what does one do about it?  Do we sterilize our environment so, that we live in a bubble?  Do we alter what we do or enjoy for someone maybe contagious? 

As  a kindee teacher, I have been sneezed on, coughed on, exposed to more things than i can imagine.   My favorite was when a parent brought their little one  late, for they had gone  to have a strep test, but the results were not going to be in till later that day!  REALLY, do we need to  be THAT exposed?  Sure enough the poor child had strep and went home that AFTERNOON.   But blessing have it, I and most of the children didn't get sick.  Whew -- the point is our immune systems were pretty strong.

The sanitizer pump, is an amazing thing.  But since it's invention people have forgotten about good old hand washing.  Soap and water, has manage to keep people not only clean, but germ protected. Now this doesn't apply for places like hospitals, clinics, etc.  There is a place for all kinds of germ protection, and there are those individuals whose systems are frail and need special attention, but that is not the majority of us.

Seems like our children/grand children immune systems are not exposed to the ordinary germs I was when I was little.   But then, many of them don't make mud pies and try to eat them,  have the 5 second rule if something falls on the floor/ground, and don't spend most of their time outside playing, running, climbing like I did. I don't remember ever hearing about ecoli - yet I played in the barn, corrals wading through who knows what- just to hose myself off and call it good.  I do remember getting a cold/sick once in a while, but it was a rarity.  Also when I did get sick, I was REALLY REALLY SICK.  I remember that most of my doctor visits were for getting stitched up from some mishap or other.

Just the other day, I was reading about the SUPER GERMS! Now that is scary, these super germs are created from reacting to the super cleaners, antibiotics, and weak immune systems that are easilly attacked.  Docs are getting better about not handing out pills for every little ear ache, but we are a population who want them to take away the pain and discomfort of our body building up resistence. So then the cycle keeps going.

So what is the remedy?  Eating mud pies?  Not really, but getting outdoors and getting ones hands dirty- really with dirt is okay.   That it is important to get plenty of fresh air, breathe hard, learning how to properly blow ones nose- yes all the kindee teachers will love you for this, how to sneeze- they will love this too; wash hands well- with soap.  and of course the most important eat your vegies and fruits. 
As far as though sanitizer spritzers-  I do carry a little one in my bag, for when I don't have soap and water handy, but it is not the first thing I go for. 

Here is to all of you , may you by pass the sniffles, ah choos and flu's this year.  Stay healthy- eat an apple  a day. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Weekend 'Work" Fun

This past weekend my family and I were at our mountain cabin for a 'work' weekend.  You see, we purchased a fixer upper cabin that we have been redoing in the inside, but the poor outside was in great need of a new paint job.   Our family of course was wrangled into being our painting crew. 

My husband being the engineer, had everything organized from brushes to ladders.  Everyone 'chose their weapon" ( paint brush and bucket) and the fun began.  I too, had planned what I do best,  the food!!!!  Turkey was in the oven - ( turkey is not for only holidays) and I too went to paint. 

Now please remember, we have a 2 year old and a Swiss Mt Dog, that can bring down a ladder with his tangled lead.  So not only was I trying to do some painting, but the babysitting was a bit precarious!   We all took turns entertaining the 2.  Eventually the dog settled down in the shade, butttttttttt not the 2 year old.  So we got her also involved with the 'painting'.  With brush in hand and a bucket of water,  she painted the trees, the rocks, the dog  what ever she could find.  busy, busy, busy

After a day on the ladders, dripping with painting spots ( I am a messy painter)  and chasing after little ones,  we were all exhausted.  That turkey smelled really good! 
We were filling our faces with yummy food and talked about how much "FUN" we all had working our patooties off!  You heard me right' FUN!   For you see, painting a house is like being on a road trip.  You are all a captured audience.   The stories, conversations, silliness that was shared those hours is priceless.   Yes the house looks wonderful, the painting crew was tops,  but the time we all had together was great. 

I hope that you all have a 'work' day where you can have your children be a captive audience.   Working together was so bonding ( and exhausting) but I got to know my son-in-laws in a different light and my daughters as they joked and kidded with each other.   What a great weekend it was.

What's up with Blinkers!!!!!!

What’s up with Blinkers!!!!

Okay, What is up with these cars not having any blinkers?   These past couple of weeks I have been on the road A LOT and I must say the use of blinkers is almost non-existent!   Old cars, new cars, SUV cars, pick-ups, trucks- fast cars and slow cars.  Seems like non of them have blinkers that work. 

What I really love are the very expensive cars- like a Lexus, that don’t have blinkers.  I believe it does come with the purchase price!  

This week, I have had to  screeched to a halt, by a person deciding IF they should turn or not,  then proceeds to turn.  Waited for a car to come out onto the intersection, for them to make a right turn!   Errrrrrr

It would make me a very rich person, if I was to collect a quarter for every car that didn’t use their blinkers. 
So PLEASE be respectful and use that lever on the side of your steering wheel that makes the lights on the back side of your car go – BLINK, BLINK, BLINK.
We ALL  would so appreciate it. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Grandparenting Today

Just this last week, I saw on the Today show a bit about Grandparents today and how so many women don't want to be called grandma or to be considered old and frumpy.   Earlier I wrote about the name Grandma, but today I want to write about the role of a grandparent.

First I want to think back on my grandparents.  I have only a couple of memories.  My mother's mother spoke no English, I remember her wearing an apron, being in the kitchen and always having lemon drops.  My mother's father was a big guy, smoked a cigar, had a glass eye, loved to garden and read the newspaper.  I don't remember doing anything with them, just more of observations.  My father's mother, was not really present, but I do remember her being ill and visiting her in the hospital. 

Come to our children's grandparents, they were a bit more involved.  Both sides of the family would come to visit ( we lived out of state) or we would visit them.  The visits were always fun, did outtings to local venues, had holidays and family gatherings.  My husband's parents were more tradtional. Loved the children, but manners were expected, Grandpa ruled and expectations were in place on behaviors.  My father was pretty absent from my children's life, only met them a couple of times, my mother was more interactive.  Memories of her chasing the kids around playing 'lion', making cookies, and cooking.  She too, didn't want to be the 'old grandma', so she only watched the grandchildren once so my husband and I could get away. Always said she didn't want to be the babysitter- guess many of her friends were the babysitter for the grandchildren while the parents worked. So now I am the grandparent.
What I see today!  People seem to be so much more involved with their children. As a teacher I observed  parents not only are involved with their children and their learning/activies, but many actually micro manage them. Parents want to know everything that is going on with their children- cell phones, emails with care givers, instant pictures to friends/family etc. Todays technology has changed the way we interact with others, so there is more connection, good or bad.   Along with that, grand parents are far more involved.

People grandparent age are also far more active then what I remember from my childhood days.  They are involved with community, church, many still working, travel and outdoor activities.  So when I see grand parents interacting with their grand children, it isn't just at the family dinner, or sitting in the living room. It is outside biking, going for walks, at the swimming pool etc.

Grandparents have taken on some parts of the childcare.  Some are the main daycare others like me, take care of their grand children 1-2 days a week.  I call this my grandma time.   My grand daughter's other grand parents live out of state, but they come quite often and watch our lovely for a week- mainly when we are out of town.  That too is a blessing.  There are grand parent playgroups in our neighborhood where we arrange to meet at certain parks, pools, etc. Isn't that up with the times. :)

I feel so blessed I can watch my grand daughter weekly, for I get to know her, share with her and see her grow.  I also know how hard it is to be a working mom, so while my granddaughter is napping, I try to lighten their load by sweeping a floor, make dinner, or throw in a load of laundry. With today's economy we're all so strapped, there is never enough time to just enjoy being. So I try to give my children a few moments to just be and enjoy time together. Something my husband and I never had when our children were young.

My hope is that this new role of grandparenting  will create lasting memories for my children and grand children. Where children interact with us as we age, that I don't become hardened to 'my ways', and that my grand children think of me as a active, fun, intelligent person to value.   I know my life is much richer because of it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Food Choices

Yesterday (August 31st)  I was watching the show the DR'S.  The topic was about our nations food and what is REALLY in it.  Even though I have read some of these things before, heard about it, and seen it on other shows, for some reason this show really hit home. 

How did we get so far away from growing, producing , and eating whole natural foods?  I think it has to do with less patience and being used to having what you want - now.   When I was a little girl, I remember when the grocer would get in peaches.  First it would be annouced that peaches would be arriving on a certain date.  If you were lucky to have heard this, you could reserve the number of boxes you wanted. ( notice I didn't say pounds).  Then you would wait for the truck to come to town.  It was always a big day when you would go to get your peaches. 

You would pick up your boxes, and hurry home.  Each peach was wrapped in a tissue paper to prevent brusing.  I wonder who had that job,  maybe it was the peach elf.  Anyhow, there would be 2 layers of peaches, yummy yummy peaches. My sister and I would take off the tissue and smell each one.  Oh were they beautiful.  Then we got to eat one!  yep just one.  Usually the juice would drip down your chin, but you didn't mind.  It was the best day. 
For dinner that night of course we had PEACHES.  Peaches with cream.  YUM no sugar- that would ruin it.  just peaches and cream. 
Each day we got a peach,  then mom would make peach pie, peach cobbler and we would can peaches for the winter. 

Well, now that I have degressed with my peaches, back to my thoughts about food today.   You see my peach story is STILL vivid in my mind.  We had to wait for them to be IN SEASON, got them only 1x a year and that was it. Today, the fruit is picked early, sprayed with something to help it travel- no more tissue paper, and sits in coolers for who knows how long.   When I do get boxes of peaches from the market now,  I need to let them ripen and be quick for when they do, as they will spoil for they have been picked a while.

The way we process our food, get it to market really should be alarming to all of us. I will say I do love getting items at the store when not in season for the special recipe etc, but at what cost?   I love those crunchy chips, cool whip on my cobblers, but what is REALLY in there?

Being blessed living in an area with organic farms/orchards is wonderful.  I have also enjoyed the revisiting of the art of preserving foods.  This way you know what is in each and every jar.  But I also know that there are many who don't know how to preserve, have time, or the energy to do so.  Therefore our markets must provide us with the ingredients we need.  As this new movement is going on, I hope that our food industry, rethinks how they produce our foods.  We deserve better than what they are providing for us.  

Summer in a Jar III

My garden has had a few struggles this summer with the high heat we have had. My tomatoes are just enough for our table, so I will have to find my local farmer and hopefully he was more successful than I, so I can make my salsa and  diced tomatoes that get us through the winter. 
What I do have is a TON of basil.   Just walking through it makes my nose have it's own party!!!!   Just love basil and it is so versitile.   Many of us think about Italian food, but it is also in Thai and Mediterainean for too. 
Last night I froze 8 bags of basil leaves for the winter meals.  I have tried lots of ways to preserve it, and just freezing it seems the best.  If you like these helpful hints, ways to preserve summer produce, let me know. I have generations of recipes that I would love to share, but don't want to bore you with them all.  :)

Freezing Basil

pick, wash and deleaf stems of basil.
Put the leaves in a salad spinner to get them really dry. (very important part)
     If you don't have a spinner, pat dry with a towel.
Stuff a freezer bag full with the leaves, no need to be stingy,  just shove them in. Squeeze out the air,   That's it.  Off to the freezer you go.

Using Frozen Basil
The blessing with frozen basil is you can break off chunks  to  use in pasta, soups etc.

Basil  Vinegar
Love, Love basil vinegar and it is soooo easy to make.
I use regular vinegar 5% acid the kind you use for pickles.
I take the stems/flowers from above, chop them up into small pieces
Put the stems in a pot with vinegar to cover, bring to a boil, turn off.
Let them sit in the hot vinegar till it cools, strain and put in a jar. 
For Holiday gifts, I buy the fancy glass containers, put in the basil vinegar, with a few leaves ( be sure the leaves are dry- water is not good for your vinegar)  then seal.
Now isn't that simple.

You can do this will all the different types of basil.