Thursday, November 29, 2012

Alone Together- Chapter 1

I have been reading the book by Sherry Turkle called Alone Together Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other.

It appeals to my Human Behavior Profile side of the brain and Viking Husband's Computer Engineer side of his brain. 

In Richard Louv's book Last Child in the Woods he talks about how much "screen time" children are absorbing themselves in during the day. Children are going outside less and less these days. He has linked the increase in Attention Deficit Disorder, Anxiety Disorders and even Bipolar Disorder with the inability to go outside and play. It is not uncommon to be walking down the street and observe people and children absorbed in some kind of hand held device. He established very clearly the shift from being outside to being absorbed inside with a computer. I have been asking "Why?" 

Sherry Turkle is a MIT technology and society specialist who has spent the last 15 years exploring societies travel through the digital terrain. In the 15 years she interviewed over 100 children and adults from various social and economical levels. In her book she discovered a growing and unsettling relationship between lovers, parents and individualism and the computers society use. Societies views and understanding on privacy, community, intimacy and solitude have seriously changed.

We now communicate with Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Google+ , Smart Phones, Playstations, Wii, Netflex, emails, instant messaging, and et al. There are now avitars that can be created, computer pets, computer lovers, and soon cyber humans to greet us at the doctor's office. Thirty years ago society asked themselves,  "What are we going to do with these computers?"  Now, society asks, "What don't we do without computers?" 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Alone Together- Expecting More from Computers and Less From Ourselves

Question for you.
Are we expecting more from our computers, smart phones and other technologies and less from ourselves? 

This is the very question being asked in Sherry Turkle's new book Alone Together Why We are Expecting More From Technology and Less From Each Other.

One year I took a poll using a classroom of 30 students. All of my students, expect for two were on some kind of Attention Deficit/Anxiety/Depression/ et al medication. Why?
These same students had been placed in my Study Hall class due to failing or poor performance in their course work. All of them struggled with completing homework at home. I wondered why?

My question I asked my students was; " How much screen time do you use?"  The average was about 8 hours a day! The two who were not on some kind of medication had less screen time and were very active outdoors. 

I will be sharing summaries and thoughts from her chapters. 
Points to Ponder.

Bless Bless

Monday, November 26, 2012

Manic Monday- Cyber Monday

My email in boxes are full of Cyber Monday ads from all over the place. 

Several years ago when one mentioned "Cyber Monday" images of flying cars, robots, and Marty McFly in the future come to mind. 

How far we have come.... or have we?

It is easy to fall in the pit falls of ordering items off line. I am not exempted from this either. 

Does this come at a cost to our society?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Sucks!!

Something to think about!

As you start clicking on Amazon for the free stuff also think about this for a moment.

Read about why it is important to support our local business on Saturday Nov 24th here

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving 
The Suburban Homesteader San Diego
The Viking Family

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

History of American Thanksgiving

Courtesy of the History

In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn't until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

Thanksgiving at Plymouth

In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth.
Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years and tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans.
In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days. While no record exists of the historic banquet’s exact menu, the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow wrote in his journal that Governor Bradford sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the event, and that the Wampanoag guests arrived bearing five deer. Historians have suggested that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. Because the Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations.

Thanksgiving Becomes an Official Holiday

Pilgrims held their second Thanksgiving celebration in 1623 to mark the end of a long drought that had threatened the year’s harvest and prompted Governor Bradford to call for a religious fast. Days of fasting and thanksgiving on an annual or occasional basis became common practice in other New England settlements as well. During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress designated one or more days of thanksgiving a year, and in 1789, George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States; in it, he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution. His successors John Adams and James Madison also designated days of thanks during their presidencies.

In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday; each celebrated it on a different day, however, and the American South remained largely unfamiliar with the tradition. In 1827, the noted magazine editor and prolific writer Sarah Josepha Hale—author, among countless other things, of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians. Abraham Lincoln finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.

Thanksgiving Traditions

In many American households, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its original religious significance; instead, it now centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends. Turkey, a Thanksgiving staple so ubiquitous it has become all but synonymous with the holiday, may or may not have been on offer when the Pilgrims hosted the inaugural feast in 1621. Today, however, nearly 90 percent of Americans eat the bird—whether roasted, baked or deep-fried—on Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation. Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Volunteering is a common Thanksgiving Day activity, and communities often hold food drives and host free dinners for the less fortunate.

Parades have also become an integral part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States. Presented by Macy’s department store since 1924, New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade is the largest and most famous, attracting some 2 to 3 million spectators along its 2.5-mile route and drawing an enormous television audience. It typically features marching bands, performers, elaborate floats conveying various celebrities and giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters.

Beginning in the mid-20th century and perhaps even earlier, the president of the United States has “pardoned” one or two Thanksgiving turkeys each year, sparing the birds from slaughter and sending them to a farm for retirement. A number of U.S. governors also perform the annual turkey pardoning ritual.

Thanksgiving Controversies

For some scholars, the jury is still out on whether the feast at Plymouth really constituted the first Thanksgiving in theUnited States. Indeed, historians have recorded other ceremonies of thanks among European settlers in North America that predate the Pilgrims’ celebration. In 1565, for instance, the Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilé invited members of the local Timucua tribe to a dinner in St. Augustine, Florida, after holding a mass to thank God for his crew’s safe arrival. On December 4, 1619, when 38 British settlers reached a site known as Berkeley Hundred on the banks of Virginia’s James River, they read a proclamation designating the date as “a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God."

Some Native Americans and others take issue with how the Thanksgiving story is presented to the American public, and especially to schoolchildren. In their view, the traditional narrative paints a deceptively sunny portrait of relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people, masking the long and bloody history of conflict between Native Americans and European settlers that resulted in the deaths of millions. Since 1970, protesters have gathered on the day designated as Thanksgiving at the top of Cole’s Hill, which overlooks Plymouth Rock, to commemorate a “National Day of Mourning.” Similar events are held in other parts of the country.

Thanksgiving's Ancient Origins

Although the American concept of Thanksgiving developed in the colonies of New England, its roots can be traced back to the other side of the Atlantic. Both the Separatists who came over on the Mayflower and the Puritans who arrived soon after brought with them a tradition of providential holidays—days of fasting during difficult or pivotal moments and days of feasting and celebration to thank God in times of plenty.

As an annual celebration of the harvest and its bounty, moreover, Thanksgiving falls under a category of festivals that spans cultures, continents and millennia. In ancient times, the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans feasted and paid tribute to their gods after the fall harvest. Thanksgiving also bears a resemblance to the ancient Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot. Finally, historians have noted that Native Americans had a rich tradition of commemorating the fall harvest with feasting and merrymaking long before Europeans set foot on their shores.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Manic Monday- Countdown to Thanksgiving

If you are like me you often wait until the last minute to really start Thanksgiving meal planning. Cozi has come to my rescue this year. Hope this helps!

This is from Cozi so I can't take any credit for this.....

If you are hosting the big feast this Thanksgiving, start with the sage advice of a professionalmeal planner. Aviva Goldfarb, cook, author and founder of The Six O'Clock Scramble, a weekly meal planning system, has ten tips for having a successful meal while keeping your sanity intact.
I get the jitters before hosting almost any gathering. But with all the build-up to Thanksgiving, it feels like the stakes are even higher than usual. To keep it in perspective, I try to remember what is most important-to be with family and friends and appreciate our blessings. But if I'm hosting the feast, I still have a lot of work to do! I've devised some strategies for making the evening easier on us, while still indulging our guests:

Don't try to do it alone

Just because I love to cook, doesn't mean I have to do it all! If anyone volunteers to bring something, I take them up on it. I also try to involve the kids with the preparation, either by asking them to make place cards or table decorations, or clean the house. (A friend of mine cherishes the Thanksgiving tablecloth her kids made on which they traced their hands in fall colors and wrote what they were thankful for.)

Make a menu ahead of time

By the Sunday before the feast, I make a list of everything we are serving, from appetizers tocoffee. I note who is making each item and when I need to start my assignments. I even jot down my daily tasks on my calendar.
From Cozi: Use the Meals feature in Cozi to plan your Thanksgiving menu and store all the recipes in one place.

Grocery shop early

I make a detailed grocery list (consulting the menu I've decided on) and buy the groceries by Tuesday, so I can start cooking on Wednesday.

Cook in advance

Most of the trimmings can be cooked well in advance of dinner, and then warmed before the meal. Even the turkey can be finished cooking (we even slice it!) hours before the meal. (Just put that Norman Rockwell image of the father cutting the bird at the table out of your mind!)

Get the house and table ready the night before

To avoid exhaustion on the big day, I make sure the house looks nice and the table is set before I go to bed on Wednesday.

Keep appetizers easy

Before dinner, I serve simple foods, such as gourmet cheeses, nuts, store-bought gourmet spread for crackers, vegetables and dip, and fresh popcorn.

Send the kids out for a picnic and sports before the meal

This strategy, suggested by my friend and colleague, Jeanne Rossomme, frees the kitchen for the big feast, and calms the kids so there is a higher probability of civilized behavior when guests arrive.

Have plastic containers ready so you can pack up leftovers

This makes clean-up easier. But save a slice of cooked turkey breast for next week's recipe for turkey pot pie!

Take the last thirty minutes off

An experienced hostess once told me that I should try to hold sacred the last half hour before guests arrive. I use this time to get myself cleaned up and put my feet up for a few minutes. That way I'm not utterly exhausted before the evening begins.

Give thanks and eat slowly

After sitting down, each guest shares one thing for which they are thankful. This simple tradition really sets the right mood. Then we enjoy the feast we've all helped to prepare, and we try to remember to savor the time together after all our hard work.
I hope you have good food, easy travels, and a holiday that's more full of gratitude than gripes.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Gluten Free Thanksgiving with a hint of Paleo

Our family is gluten free. We are also sugar light due to two family members being diabetic. I decided a year ago to add a bit of the Paleo diet to my meal planning since the craving for sweets, like the Force, is strong with this family.  I live with a Wisconsin Cheese Head so eliminating cheese and dairy would have caused a massive Rebel Alliance level rebellion.

We have been gluten free for several years because of Celiac Spru disease. Over the years we have suffered through gnarly and nasty tasting "gluten free" versions of stuffing and other alternatives to the traditional Thanksgiving dishes. I empathize with anyone starting this path and are stressing this holiday season.

Let me share with you our Thanksgiving Day meal.

Moist and Delicious Roasted Turkey

1 fresh turkey, 18 to 20 lb., neck, heart and gizzard removed  ( To make sure it is Gluten Free make sure you purchase a turkey that is not the Butterball brand. Fresher the better)
1/2 cup Clarified Butter, softened
5T. Coarse Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt
3T. Black Pepper
3T. Coarsely Chopped Fresh Herbs (I use parsley, sage, and thyme)
3-4 Medium Yellow Onions, quartered
2 Garlic Bulbs, chopped
1/4 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup Chicken Stock ( I use Pacific because it is low sodium and Gluten Free. Swanson's Chicken broth is not Gluten Free)

You'll also need: 
Kitchen Twine
Roasting Pan that is 2 inches wider then your bird.
  1. Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 450F.
  2. In a smal bowl, mix together clarified butter, 2T. salt, 1T. pepper, and herbs. Set aside. In a medium bowl, toss together onions, garlic, olive oil, 2T. salt, and 1T. pepper. Set aside.
  3. Use your hand to gently loosen the skin from the turkey breast, so that you can smear the meat with butter mixture. Rub half of the mixture under the skin and the remaining half on the skin of the turkey. Season turkey with 1T. salt and 1T. pepper. Stuff the bird with onion and garlic mixture and tie the legs (a little bow will do), so that the mixture stays inside. 
  4. Tuck the wings behind the back and place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. 
  5. Roast the turkey for 45 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325F. Continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, away from the bone, registers 155F, about 3 hours more. If the skin begins to brown too quickly, tent the turkey with aluminum foil. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, baste the turkey with the pan dripping every 10 minutes. 
  6. Transfer the turkey to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 30-45 minutes before carving. Skim the fat off the pan drippings. Add 1 cup of chicken stock to the roasting pan and set over medium heat. Boil for 10 minutes, until reduced and slightly thickened (there is no flour in this gravy, so it won't be thick, but it will be flavorful and delicious!). Transfer to a bowl or gravy boat for serving. 

Gluten Free Gravy
Making Gluten Free Gravy is simple. 
Use the pan drippings and chicken stock from your turkey above. Gently use rice flour or cornstarch to make a roue and use this roue to thicken the drippings. I have used tapioca flour in the past but it leaves a unnatural shine in the gravy. Rice flour enhances the flavor of the gravy, but you will use less flour then wheat flour.

Gluten Free Stuffing!

You can imagine our delight and joy when we discovered Udi Bread's Thanksgiving Day Stuffing. It does taste, "Just Like Mom's"  This is not Paleo dish. 


1 loaf of Udi’s Whole Grain Gluten Free Bread
1 loaf of Udi’s White Sandwich Gluten Free Bread
1/4 cup of fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons of fresh sage
1 cup of unsalted butter or margarine
2 onions (or 1 large onion)
1/2 cup of chopped fennel
1/2 cup of chopped celery
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream


Lightly butter each side of Udi's Gluten Free Whole Grain & White Sandwich breads. Broil Udi's Gluten Free Whole Grain & White Sandwich Bread till slightly brown/toasted. Allow bread to cool completely on a wire rack. Put bread in a Ziploc bag and slightly break toasted bread into bread crumbs (or cut into pieces). Place in bowl with parsley, sage, salt and pepper. Melt butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat; add onions and saute until onions are softened. Add fennel and celery, stirring occasionally until vegetables are soft. Transfer vegetables to bowl with the toasted Udi’s gluten free bread crumbs. Add eggs, stock, cream and gently toss. Transfer mixture to a buttered shallow baking dish. Bake, covered, in middle of oven for 30 minutes at 325 degrees. To brown the stuffing, uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
Alternative to Stuffing- Paleo Style
This receipe comes from one of my favorite Paleo cookbooks called Paleo Comfort Food.

1 pound ground pork
2 teaspoons fresh sage leaves, freshly chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
¼ teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
3 cups celery, chopped
2 cups onion, chopped
3 granny smith apples, cored and chopped
1 pound mushrooms, chopped
1-2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs
¼ cup turkey stock or drippings from turkey
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large skillet, brown pork along with sage, thyme, rosemary, cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes. Mix well and remove to bowl when cooked through.
3. In the same skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add in celery, onion, apples and mushrooms, and cook until onions are translucent and celery and mushrooms somewhat softened. Mix in the poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.
4.  In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and turkey stock. Set aside.
5. Combine the pork with the sautéed vegetables in a large baking dish, and pour the egg/stock mixture over.
6. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, uncovering for last 10 minutes to brown the stuffing on top.
(you can – if preferred – stuff your turkey with some of this goodness as well!)
Yields about 6 cups cooked stuffing
Sweet Potatoes Bits-  This is a Paleo and Gluten Free Dish but full of flavor.
 ( If you are concerned about the coconut oil this dish taste just as good with olive oil)


  • 6 sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 TBSP Agave Nectar
  • 2 TBSP Coconut Oil

Cooking Steps

Peel sweet potatoes. Cut into bite sized pieces. Put 2 TBSP of coconut oil in a pan and melt it on medium heat. Once the oil has melted, put the sweet potatoes in the pan and stir to coat with coconut oil. Cook for 4 minutes. Stir. Place a lid on the pan and turn the heat down to low. Continue to cook for another 4 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Turn the heat off but keep the pan on the burner. Sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with agave nectar.
 Stir. Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy.
This is a family favorite. It is also insanely easy.
Oven Roasted Broccoli

  • 1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.

  • Directions

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
    Toss the broccoli with the olive oil and salt in a large bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the broccoli out in a single layer on the sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake until tender and slightly browned, about 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.


    Green Beans with Pearl Onions and Almonds


    2 (12-14 oz.) cans whole green beans
    1 (6 oz.) jar of pearl onions, drained (found on canned vegetable aisle)
    ¼ cup slivered almonds
    1 Tbsp. olive oil

    Pour green beans (with liquid) into a 2 qt. sauce pan. Add 1 can of additional water. Add drained pearl onions, slivered almonds, and olive oil. Simmer ten minutes until heated through. Add salt/pepper to taste. Cool slightly before serving.


    It is all about the Pie... Pumpkin Pie.... Yum!!

    PUMKIN PIE (Gluten-Free and Paleo)

    Choose a pie crust of choice. I cheat and buy a pre-made one from Whole Foods. 

    Here’s the filling:

    This makes enough for two 8 inch pies, so if you’re only doing one, cut it in half.

    Filling Ingredients:

    2 15-ounce cans of pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling, or 1 29-ounce can of pumpkin ( I use Libby's. The ingredients are simple: Pumpkin puree.)
    4 whole eggs
    2 tablespoons gluten-free flour blend
    1 teasoon cinnamon
    ¼ teasoon cloves
    ½ teaspoon allspice
    teaspoon ginger
    1/3 cup dark agave syrup
    teaspoons gluten free vanilla extract (optional and to taste. I found the agave syrup is enough sweetener)
    2/3 cup full fat (not light) coconut milk (You can use Eagle Brand Condensed Milk instead but it will not be diary free.)

    If making only half the recipe, you can make this in the blender, which is very quick and easy, and also makes it easier to pour into the crust.  The full recipe will exceed the capacity of most blenders.
    1. Mix all ingredients together in large mixing bowl, in approximately the order they are listed.  Blend until thoroughly mixed.
    2. Pour into pre-baked pie shell, and bake for fifty minutes at 325.  Remember to reduce oven temperature after pre-baking the pie shells.  Check for doneness every 5 minutes thereafter, by inserting a paring knife into the pie; it should come out clean.

    Bread, Rolls and More Starch!!

    Gluten Free Bread. I have fallen love with Udi's bread because of their consistency and taste. Over the years I have used  Gluten Free Pantry, "Cause You Are Special, and Pamela's mixes for both gluten free bread and pie crusts. My family really loves "Cause you Are Special for their rolls.


    Have a very Happy and Wonderful Thanksgiving.....

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

    Small Business Saturday

    This weekend I heard a growing chorus of "Get it off Amazon. It's cheaper." or "Amazon is cheaper."
    Despite California's best effort to over tax Amazon; Amazon apparently is still cheaper to buy from then the malls.

    Every year, I post on this blog my support for Small Business Saturday and small family run businesses. However, if you have been following my post for sometime you will find that my Humble Little Town has been struggling keeping small family run businesses.

    On October 31, we saw the closing of our favorite BBQ Smokehouse, Ramons aka Janice's Place. You can read the commentary and discussion here.
    There are many variables as to why and also as many excuses as why they are going out of business. You can read one here. Another post here.

    This year I challenge you to look deep down and ask yourself why Amazon is easier to buy from then your local family run business. Is it truly cheaper? Or just easier?

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    Random Act of Kindness Tuesday- Giving Thanks

    November is traditionally the month we give thanks for what we have in our lives. It is also the perfect month to really act upon those Random Acts of Kindness. 

    This year the Viking Kiddos and I created a list of ideas we can share with the community and with you.

    Please show Thanks by:

    10. Thank a Volunteer- 
           - Thank the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts for their civic and community projects.
           - Thank that hard working Parent Volunteer in your child's classroom. 

    9. Gather up flat or unused tennis balls and give them to current and new four legged furry friends. ~ idea courtesy of The View From Here.

    8. Deliver Thanksgiving inspired treats to a favorite person, co-worker, favorite barista, teacher, etc.

    7.  Pick up trash around the neighborhood. Have the Kiddos join in on this project.

    6. Thank a First Responder or a teacher. I have bought several officers a cup of coffee over the years as a way of saying, "Thank You." 

    5. Donate books t a children's library, school library, children's hospital, day care, or a family with younger children. 

    4. Donate something handmade to a favorite charity. 
        - Knitted scarves, hats or gloves
        - Donate gently used jackets, hats or shoes to a shelter

    3. Clothing donations to the Goodwill, AmVets or Salvation Army. I recommend these three for a couple of reasons. 1. The items actually go to the needy. 2. Each one of these companies train people in job skills especially the disabled. 

    2. Complement someone or say, "Hi." Find out why here.  Or say, "Thank you." Find out why here.

    1. Donate a meal for Thanksgiving and the Holidays. 

    Friday, November 9, 2012

    Positive Images

    Please explain to me why this image is wrong?

    But, these dolls are acceptable

    Why is these dolls considered okay and even roll models?

    But, giving these dolls are considered "quaint" and "cute" and "homey" and given a negative connotation?

    We wonder why our daughters and sons have such a confused outlook on their images. We are giving them confusing messages.

    I made a promise that I would never make my children feel self conscious or feel negative about their bodies.

    I want my daughter to feel beautiful on the inside and the outside. 

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

    Random Act of Kindness Tuesday- The Elections

    Don't forget to vote!!

    Kindness should be a bipartisan and universal 
    vote of YES!!

    Remember, we model how we treat each other to our children. Even, if you fundamentally disagree with a person on a candidate, Proposition, or belief show respect and kindness to each other.

     Our actions speak louder then words.

    Thursday, November 1, 2012

    Current Projects

    I have fallen in love with knitting and crocheting. I have been weaving since I was twelve and I could needle point and cross stitch by ten. But, knitting and crocheting is a whole new world.

    I am also a self proclaimed Fiber-holic. 
    "Hi Viking Mom! Welcome to Fiber-holic Anonymous."
    My Raverly username is Knitting Viking Mom.

    Last year for Christmas gifts I knitted and crocheted hats for family members. They were a huge hit! You can read about them here

    Current Projects: 

    The Zombie/Vampire Scarf

    I think any teenager would love having dripping blood come off their neck. Or use bright neon green and it becomes zombie venom. You can get an idea what the current obsession is on our Homestead.

    This pattern can be found in Vampire Knits: Projects to Keep You Knitting from Twilight to Dawn by Genevieve Miller. Her blog site is here

    Countess Bathory "Romantic" Scarf

    Sssh! Don't tell my Sister that this... maybe... her possibly... I don't know yet... Christmas gift......

    I am also making one for myself. After several dozen projects for other people I realized I hadn't done anything for me. 

    This pattern can also be found in Vampire Knits: Projects to Keep You Knitting from Twilight to Dawn by Genevieve Miller.

    An unexpected surprise I learned this year is that 5th Graders in the Waldorf Schools learn to knit socks. 

    First set of socks!

    I have two pairs of socks going right now. One is called the Frog in the Swamp socks. It is a green and pink variegation. As a skein it looked pretty. Knitted together it looks like something a frog would sit on in the middle of the swamps. It is also super fine. Viking Dad had to make new knitting needles for me out of coat hangers to accommodate the fineness. 

    The second pair is simple wool socks. 
    The patterns for these socks come from this awesome book. 
    Getting Started Knitting Socks has easy directions, explanations and great pictures. The tip sections are incredibly valuable.

    Frankenstein Socks

    What do you do with left over yarn?

     Make Frankenstein Socks.

    Bless Bless