Starting a new year, especially a new decade, always makes me want to look back at what's changed. I also love reading books to my kids that I and/or other relatives enjoyed when we were young. Here we have a book looking back at the 1920s that belonged to my paternal grandparents, a book that … Continue reading Old Books I’ve Been Reading in 2020
This is what I made for lunch today for myself--and there was a small portion left over from this meal made of leftovers, and my 15-year-old ate that and liked it! I'll explain how I made this particular meal, but the larger point is that it's often possible to make something delicious out of the … Continue reading 14-minute Homemade Lunch!
Lydia is in kindergarten now and easily picking up the "sight words" and phonics as they're taught. There's no need to pressure her to pick up reading any faster, but I pounced on this opportunity to help her practice by doing something she was really interested in doing! The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is one … Continue reading How playing Gollum can boost reading skills
Four years ago, I posted a photo of the stack of books I got for Christmas and later updated the post with links to the book reviews. This year, I've already finished one of the books (the longest one!) so this post isn't just a tease--it also includes one review! The Forgotten Garden is the … Continue reading The Forgotten Garden and books I’m going to read in 2020
One of my most popular articles in 2019 was a review of a curry simmer sauce in a bottle--and that sauce was not very good, so we wanted to try some other convenient, ready-to-use curry sauces in search of a better one. We've found two that are quite tasty, and they're not an obscure brand … Continue reading Simply Balanced curry sauce review (2 flavors)
This isn't really a blog. It's an ever-expanding, interlinked reference book. As my new articles keep linking to old articles, and other people also link to those old articles or share them on social media, they continue to draw readers for years after publication. That means that when I look over the WordPress statistics for … Continue reading Top 19 Articles of 2019
I said that in 2019 I was going to write a series on this topic, and here it is New Year's Eve and I haven't! So here's my outline, and feel free to comment with questions about these topics, and I'll get to work on this in 2020! UPDATE: I've now filled in the outline … Continue reading 15 Ways to Build a Smarter Kid
None of these was a book newly published in 2019. I don't avoid reading brand-new books, but I don't see any reason to focus on new ones when there are so many wonderful books out there! Because I tend to buy new books or check out books that are available at the library without reserving … Continue reading The 5 Best Books I Read in 2019
I'm about to go out and hang flyers inviting everyone to a Plastic-Free Potluck, and I'm taking the jar of thumbtacks from my desk drawer at home. This jar once held Vitamin C tablets from Revco, which used to be a drugstore chain here in Pittsburgh. Up the hill, where Pamela's diner is now--that used … Continue reading Single-use Plastic, Twenty Years Later
This is a quick, easy, tasty way to get a lot of vegetable into your meal! With the right cooking technique, kale becomes very crisp, almost like potato chips but a bit chewier. Garlic makes it taste great! (You might want to chew some xylitol gum to freshen your breath after eating....) We cook this … Continue reading Crispy Garlic Kale
As we wrap up the second decade of the twenty-first century, I've been reading and thinking about things like the effects of immigration policy on science and marriage, how the struggle against racism has changed over time, and what weird new technologies may emerge in the 2020s. Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler The cover emphasizes … Continue reading Vinegar Girl, Bright April, Tell the Machine Goodnight [book reviews]
Buying a share in a community-sponsored agriculture farm every summer since 2001 has forced my family to try some vegetables we wouldn't have chosen to buy at the store! Turnips are a good example. They're nutritious, but we struggle to prepare them in ways that we'll enjoy eating. My father really likes turnips, so I … Continue reading Turnip Fries and Other New Experiences
Last Saturday, I gathered leaves from the edges of my street and the public sidewalk and arranged them in my yard--about 80 pounds of free mulch! You can read all about this technique in my earlier article. Today, here in Pittsburgh, we have snow on the ground that fell on November 12. It's compacting my … Continue reading Mulch with Autumn Leaves, Bring a Beautiful Spring!
This is a guest post by Jill Exman Tedlock. Read Part 1 here! What do I feed my kid? We follow Kids Eat in Color's recommendation of feeding kids exactly what adults are served. Kids Eat in Color toes a pretty hard line: Kids eat “adult food”. In our house, we serve both things the … Continue reading Tips for Feeding a Picky Eater: Part 2
This is a guest post by Jill Exman Tedlock, whom I met through New Mom's Coffee, an absolutely wonderful resource here in metropolitan Pittsburgh. Once you've attended this in-person discussion group, you can join several affiliated Facebook groups to discuss raising children of different ages or to discuss related topics, like cooking for your family. … Continue reading Tips for Feeding a Picky Eater: Part 1
It's October. That means, at least here in Pittsburgh, everyone is beginning to talk about how to commemorate the terrible thing that happened here last October 27, when some guy from the suburbs drove into our Squirrel Hill neighborhood, went into the Tree of Life synagogue, murdered 11 people, injured others, and traumatized many more. … Continue reading Relighting the Tree of Life
At some point during my many years of working in an office, I developed the habit of making a cup of peppermint tea as soon as I got to work every morning. I'm less consistent when I'm between jobs (as I am now) so I'm not necessarily sitting down at the computer every morning--but peppermint … Continue reading Peppermint Tea: Healthy Helper or Just Hot Water?
I stepped into an aisle in my local library's fiction section and checked out the first two books that looked good. Each of them turned out to be the first novel by an author experienced in another type of writing--Erin Kelly is a journalist, and Richard Kramer is a television scriptwriter. Both of them are … Continue reading Two First Novels by Authors Starting with K [book reviews]
I attended the Student Climate Strike on September 20 in Pittsburgh. So did my 14-year-old son, who is actually a student. I went to show my support of the students but also because climate change is affecting me, too, and all of us. A lot of other gray-haired people had the same idea. In fact, … Continue reading Two Things About the Climate Strikes
My family spends a lot less time in the car than the American average, but we get into our car for hours-long errand binges some weekends and several long road trips each year. For the past three school years, my son had to be driven through urban rush-hour traffic to a weekly activity at dinnertime. … Continue reading Cutting Back on Car Snacks