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
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
Life here on Earth presents an astonishing array of abundance. There's so much stuff that we can gather to fulfill not only our basic needs but also our more frivolous desires and, perhaps, our need to feel prepared for meeting future needs. Many years during Lent, I've given up some category of material things in … Continue reading Would decluttering save you from buying a new appliance?
My son Nicholas turned 13. It happened more than a month ago, and I wouldn't have any more to say about it than any other birthday if it weren't for other people's reactions. Nearly every time somebody asks how old he is now and I tell them, they have something to say about it (beyond … Continue reading Oh, no, a teenager!!!
Many things in our home previously belonged to our relatives. I claimed many books, dishes, pieces of furniture, and framed artwork from my grandparents' homes after they died. Daniel's parents and grandparents have given us household items that they don't need anymore but that are still useful. Making use of these things in our home is a way … Continue reading The Dishwasher Ladybug
I'm writing a 3-part series on composting over at Kitchen Stewardship; here's how to get started with my composting system using 3 ordinary flowerpots, and I also mention two FREE composting systems my family members have used. Here, I'm explaining my general approach to the garden I nourish with my compost. The idea and the … Continue reading Darwinian Gardening
My grandma would be 101 years old today, if she were still alive. Last year I tried to write the centennial tribute she deserved, but I was recovering from a brain injury, so not only was everything a struggle but I felt really terrible and inadequate about everything...and also, I realized, "Grandma meant so much … Continue reading Grandma, Grace, Portage, Petunias, and a Jade Green Sweatshirt
Our two-year-old Lydia loves poetry! Most young children enjoy hearing rhyming, rhythmic words, but Lydia is particularly fascinated. We have many picture books with rhyming text--like the wonderful works of Dr. Seuss--but we've also found several longer poetry books that she enjoys and so do we. Poetry is very helpful in getting children interested in … Continue reading 4 Great Poetry Books for Young Children
My family has an ancestral home, a place that's been owned by our family ever since it was built in 1910. It's a large, elegant, three-story brick house on the main street of a pleasant town in Ohio. My maternal grandmother grew up there, and although she itched to leave that town because of the … Continue reading That Time I Drank 33-Year-Old Grape Juice
Grandma meant so much to me that I can't cram it all into one article. Here is just one story that I hope will show you a little bit of what she was like and how she shaped me.
When I was born, my mother quit her paying job so she could be home with me. When my kids were born, I took 12 weeks off and then returned to my job. It's my father, not my mother, who has been my role model for balancing parenthood with employment.
My children's ethnicity is five-eighths Yiddish, but our religion is Episcopal. Here's how the Jewish holiday of Passover connects us to both our family and our faith.
This is a controversial and confusing question. Some people go on and on about how parenthood melted their selfish hearts and made them realize the importance of devoting themselves fully to making their children's lives perfectly wonderful and completely safe. Other people go on and on about how children are hedonistic little leeches whose spirits … Continue reading Should Your Family Be Child-centered?
My paternal grandmother wrote a lot of poetry in her twenties, some of which was published in a poetry column in her local newspaper and some of which she read on a local radio program. After she passed away in 1991, my dad compiled her published poetry into a little booklet which he printed and … Continue reading My grandmother is blogging from beyond the grave!!
I mentioned in my most recent multi-week menu post making Mexican Pizza, an easy and versatile meal that my mom makes frequently. As I wrote that, it occurred to me to ask Mom if there is a recipe for Mexican Pizza or she's just been winging it all along! She has no written recipe, but … Continue reading Mexican Pizza
This is Daniel's mother Elsa's traditional Thanksgiving side dish. I'm posting it in July because I'm about to post a way to make a similar but non-baked dish if you crave something like this (and/or have sweet potatoes to use up) in hot weather! We had made the original recipe many times, referencing a copy … Continue reading New England Yam Bake
More than three years ago, I posted many ways to eat kale, beginning the article with an acknowledgement that many people think it's just a garnish and that, personally, I grew up knowing kale as a notorious vegetable used by my maternal grandmother’s family, seasoned with cloves and cayenne pepper and cooked “until the wallpaper peels,” to … Continue reading Kirn Family Kale
My only child weaned 5 years ago this month, and I've been meaning to write this article ever since! I finally got inspired by a recent magazine article arguing that the whole concept of breastfeeding being any kind of good idea is A PLOT TO KEEP WOMEN DOWN!!! and supporting this argument by quoting outdated … Continue reading Breastfeeding While Working Outside the Home
One habit I am very grateful my parents taught me is this: When you finish your dinner, stop eating. If you get hungry again before bedtime, you may have dessert. In my childhood home, "dessert" was often canned fruit in syrup, homemade yogurt with jam, tapioca pudding, fruit crisp, a bagel, or something else that … Continue reading Don’t Save Room for Dessert!
A few weeks ago, I explained how we appreciate the little forests within our city. During our Thanksgiving trip, Nicholas (almost seven years old) and I found a much larger forest to explore--in a place where we never knew there was a forest. Cousin Mike hosts Thanksgiving in his home near Albany, New York. I've … Continue reading Adventure in the Forest Across the Street