Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Clearing Out the "Edit Posts" List

I have sat down and started about 5 blog posts over the past 2 weeks, but none have managed to flourish into completion. Being a bit disappointed in myself for not maintaining my personal goal of at least one post per week, I am going ahead and posting this complete stream of consciousness entry.

So what were those other posts going to be about? Here is the low-down...

Baby Whale tried to nurse boats in Australia
....brought back many memories of nursing our children. I found it very sad that this little newborn was so desperately trying to latch-on and aren't all newborns as clueless about their surroundings? Put just about anything in front of them and they will suck it; just ask any new parent's finger if this is true.

Mother Gorilla mourns dead baby
.... The mother did not want to give up the corpse of her dead baby that died from a suspected heart defect. Many people doubt whether animals have any parental feelings beyond instinct, but perhaps humans are too far removed from parental instinct. It is especially evident when there are so many instances of child neglect, like this recent story about an 11-month-old that died of starvation and dehydration.

The last news story that I started to post about was (surprisingly) not about animals, but about The Recent Immunization Debate that seems to be going on day-in and day-out over at MSNBC.
Lax vaccinations causes whooping cough outbreak -- link
Vaccines cause autism -- link
Vaccines are not linked to autism -- link
(the above to articles are older but referenced heavily)

Aug. 21- Non-vaccinating causes more measles -- link
Aug. 22- Non-vaccinated kids pose a health risk to everyone -- link
Aug. 25- Our kids shouldn't play together -- link
Where do I even start with this one? I, for one, am cautiously suspicious of vaccinations, but our children have had the shots on the infant/toddler schedule. They have not had any of the school age booster shots.

I imagine that if I had been more informed about the dangers of the shots and the actual effectiveness (or should I say ineffectiveness) of immunizations, we may have chosen a different route, but either way, there is no reason for parents to be in such an uproar and battling it out over this.

Don't we all do the best we can to take responsibility and make intelligent decisions for our children? Are any of us so confident in our daily choices that we want to force our decisions onto other parents?

This is simply a great way for MSNBC to maintain their readership. Get everyone to take a side then maintain this perpetual debate.

So those are the thoughts and perspectives that have been swimming around in my head recently and now that they are out of the way, I can now post about what has been occupying my time since last Monday.

....But now I am out of time again and I need to get up and chase my naked 2-year-old!

I'll be back later, I'm determined!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Easy" Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

I have never posted a recipe before, but this is an easy favorite of mine. Cooler weather will hopefully be arriving soon and soup is great when it's cold outside.

"Easy" Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

  • 46 oz can of tomato juice
  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream*
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter*
  • 5-6 tomatoes
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic (add this to suit your preference)
  • Fresh Basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
* This is what the original recipe calls for. I have only made it like this two times and it was, of course, delicious, but lets get real folks, how much milk-fat does one family need?! I usually substitute half-and-half for the cream and margarine for the butter. (I once tried it with fat-free half-and-half, but it was not very good. Fat-free is mostly corn syrup.)

1. Peel and seed the tomatoes. (There is a learning curve on peeling and seeding tomatoes, but once you get it, it's not a big deal. Here is an instructional video just in case.)

2. Simmer together tomatoes, tomato juice, butter and garlic for about an hour and a half. (I often throw this into the crockpot and cook on high for 3-4 hours. That way I don't have to monitor it and I can instead monitor the children!)

3. Remove heat and allow soup to cool. Put mixture into a blender, add 6-7 leaves of fresh basil and blend together. (This is where a hand-held blender comes in quiet handy. I use mine to blend the soup right in the cooking pot. You still should wait until it has cooled a bit because scalding hot soup splattered up your arm is not pleasant.)

4. Return soup to pot and add cream, simmer for an additional 30 minutes. (Again, you can put this together in a crockpot on low for about an hour and not have to worry about it.)

5. Serve and enjoy.

Looking over the recipe now, I realize that perhaps it is not as easy as I thought. Maybe I have just made it so many times that it seems to require little effort. Hopefully you will give it a try and let me know in the comments how it works out.

BTW - ALL of our kids, even our very pickiest eater, eat and enjoy this soup. I usually add crackers or bread to thicken-up our toddler's bowl. He isn't all that great at spooning liquids.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Wedding, a Bit of Confusion and the Summer is Over

I suppose the summer is drawing to a close. The public schools have started back and I am just beginning to see a tinge of red in a few leaves on the Bradford Pear tree that waves to our bedroom window each day.

We rounded out our very busy summer with an annual New Hampshire visit. This year we journeyed in August so that our trip would coincide with my sister-in-law's wedding.

Stacey Elizabeth Holland married Christopher Joseph on Saturday, August 2, 2008 on Bear Island in Meredith, NH. What a beautiful bride and a beautiful wedding!

But, I must admit that the ceremony's procedure created a bit of temporary confusion in our four-year-old's mind - Let me explain....
Setting: The lake side home of Barney and Bettyanne Holland, bright flowers adorn every walkway and the weather is pleasantly warm and sunny. Sunshine filters through the pines and the water sparkles.
Scene: Standing on a prominent rock, about 3-feet over the guests are the groom and his best man. The wedding music plays as the wedding party walks down a path. First, toddler Henry is lead by his daddy and brings flowers to the mother of the bride and of the groom. Next appear the two lovely flower girls, Elora Holland and her cousin Erin. They are followed by two young ring bearers, 7-year-old Corbin and 4-year-old Jacob.
The boys took their job of carrying the rings very seriously. Corby told them that if they dropped the rings, Aunt Stacey would not be able to get married. We were so happy that all of our children could participate in their aunt's wedding!
Next appears the matron of honor holding a beautiful bouquet of flowers. (Yes, I was the matron of honor but I still can't get over the word matron. It just sounds so....well, you can imagine!.) Last, the radiant bride is escorted by her father and the wedding begins.
The rock we were standing on was very large, probably more than 100 square feet of surface area, so there was plenty of room to stand on, but I must admit that during the ceremony I was mostly concentrating on not falling. The rock was pretty uneven and you know I just had to wear those cute little bronze heels instead of hiking boots which would have given me a lot more traction!

Despite my balancing act, I still got a little emotional when Stacey echoed "Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay." Even now the words move me.

Back to the wedding:
The ceremony is complete and the bride and groom kiss. He escorts her down the rock.
Here is the tricky part.
The best man (Chris' friend Dave) turns and takes the matron of honor's arm (that's me) and he escorts her down the rock and follows the bride and groom. The guests are excited, but as the wedding party departs they quiet. Just at that moment the four-year-old exclaims, rather loud for all to hear -
"Did Mommy just marry another man?!?"

Poor Jacob! Could he have really thought I was getting married too! Needless to say, there were many helpful and somewhat snickering family members to help clear-up his confusion.

Despite my failed attempt to acquire a second husband (darn-it), we really enjoyed our little vacation. It was a great way to close a busy summer of swim-team and home repairs. Now it's on to soccer and school.