When life gives you wet socks, make a matching game!

Well, gee, I finished writing this article and then discovered that this week’s Works-for-Me Wednesday asks writers to submit our most important post of 2010.  This isn’t it!  And my lunch break is almost over!  I don’t have time today to write about the most crucial lesson I learned in 2010, which is that the misery of migraines can be reduced and sometimes eliminated if only I use my migraine treatment right away instead of making some excuse about why I shouldn’t–I’ll write more about that soon.  Meanwhile, I’d say my most important post of 2010 is It’s Only Monday.

This week, I’ve been grateful that the big blizzard bypassed Pittsburgh so that my relatives were able to travel to and from our house safely and conveniently, and while they were here we had just exactly enough snow on the ground to call it a white Christmas!  I’ve also been reflecting on the big blizzard that did hit us in early February. Read more…

Things Not To Do: Dessert Edition, Volume II

from storyteller Fran Stallings (Becca’s mom), a story horrifyingly similar to the tale of the Fruity Whip

While our kitchen is being renovated, we’ve set up camp in the main bathroom, which we have equipped with electric skillet, small microwave, and toaster oven. Electric kettle and toaster are on the dinette table, which is camping in the family room. The dish drainer monopolizes the bathtub. Gordon enjoys using the telephone shower to rinse the dishes! All this leaves me about one square foot of counter space to work in. I can either use the cutting board to prep ingredients, or replace it with the skillet to cook them. I’m realizing that once the kitchen is remodeled and I return to having No More counter space than I had before (we have not changed the “footprint” of the kitchen), I will be deliriously grateful for all the room!

Invited to bring a dessert to tonight’s pot-luck, I figured I could get away with not having any kitchen by whomping up a no-bake pie using a purchased cookie crust, instant pudding, whipped topping, etc. Read more…

How to Make Christmas Morning Last Longer

My family has a tradition for opening our Christmas gifts that makes the fun last longer, reduces chaos, increases our appreciation of each gift, helps us remember to thank gift-givers who are present, improves our ability to make an accurate list of who got what from whom (as a reference for thanking givers who aren’t present), calms down that “Gimme gimme! What’s next?” feeling, and helps us share each other’s joy. It works wonders, and it’s really simple! Read more…

Apricot Lentil Soup

Meatless MondayReal Food Friday

This is one of our favorite soups in the fall and winter! It’s famous at our church’s Lenten soup supper. It has a really pleasant, interesting flavor that’s not too sweet and fruity. Most people want to know what’s in it but can’t guess that it’s apricots, so it’s perfect for “Guess the Mystery Ingredient” if you like to play that game.  It’s easy to make and inexpensive. Read more…

Parents of teenagers are still parents!

Last week’s Parade magazine feature article summarized some of the scientific findings about adolescent brain development.  None of it was news to me, but I work in developmental psychology and read lots of research articles; I thought it was a pretty good article for typical mainstream readers.  But this part got me steamed:

The phone rang at 2 a.m. Steven Weinreb, a physician in Hartford, Conn., answered, his heart pounding. It was two years ago, and his 18-year-old son, Jeff, was coming back from one of his band’s concerts. What was wrong? Car accident? Drug overdose? “Dad, we’re in New Jersey. We’re lost. I think we’ve crossed the river twice. What do I do?” Jeff said.

“This is a boy who had it together enough to book dates for his own band; he had a GPS in his car; he had maps; he could ask at a gas station,” Weinreb says. “Instead, he called me at two in the morning and practically gave me a heart attack.”

Gee. It’s like he thought you were his parent or something. Like he trusted you to know the right thing to do in a difficult situation. Like he trusted you to help when he needed you. Wherever could he have gotten that idea? Read more…

Practical Stocking Stuffers

In my family, Christmas stockings are not just for children! Everybody has a stocking, and we play Santa to each other by stuffing the stockings with little treats when nobody’s looking. It’s no fair to peek into your stocking before Christmas morning–when we open stocking gifts first thing, before breakfast or even coffee!

For the holiday gift tips edition of Works-for-Me Wednesday, here are some ideas for inexpensive gifts that fit into stockings and are useful things, not just cheap junk. Read more…