Family Narrative Experiment

IMG_0106Recently I read an article on how children who know their family tree and the history and stories behind it, are more confident.  Looking for some more information, I found this NY Times article and decided to conduct my own little experiment.

So, that night, I took aside the youngest and started the conversation by telling her about an important historical figure from each side of the family. One, from her dad’s side, had a part in helping George Washington in the Revolutionary War by sneaking gun powder in beer barrels past the enemy to the troops.

Another, from my side, was part of the first Thanksgiving on record. We talked about doing what was right even when it was hard amongst other things.

She smiled and ate it up, but didn’t have any follow up questions and didn’t bring it back up for a couple days.

Until . . . a friend came over.  From the bottom of the stairs I could hear her talking to her friend. “I learned some really cool family history this weekend. A guy from my family won World War I because he knew that people would die without beer or guns.”

When I stopped laughing, I relayed the true story.

But I consider my experiment a success . . . except, maybe we should repeat it over, and over, and over again.


Deep Thoughts



The eldest daughter walked into the living room, bleary-eyed from staying up too late the night before. “I woke up with a realization,” she said. “You know how the average person is supposed to sleep 8 hours a day?”


“That means you’ve slept at least a-third of your life away.”

Before I even set my coffee cup down, the other two jumped on this realization. “That means I’ve lived only 8 years of my life,” the 12-year old mused.

“That means I’m really only 6 years old,” spouted the 9-year-old.

The eldest pointed at me. “So really, even though you’re almost 40, you’ve only really lived like 24 years of it.” She turned her finger on her dad. He shook his head, not wanting to know, and escaped upstairs.

I stood up, a little depressed, and headed for the kitchen. “No more deep thoughts until I’ve had a second cup of coffee!”   And for some unknown reason, the song, “Seize the Day” by Carolyn Arends started playing in my head.





Spinach Celebration

One week of summer passed and I’m pleased to cross off one “Mom Summer Goal” from my list.  I wanted to increase my kiddos consumption of veggies, and vowed to make a spinach smoothie that my family would like… or at least tolerate.



After a few so-so trials, I found one they like! We’ve had this every day this week and I love that they get a serving of spinach before lunch even rolls around. The trick? There are so many monster smoothie recipes out there that call for yogurt.  Except, the yogurt is what adds a bad/tangy aftertaste with the spinach.  At least in our opinion (and I’m a fan of plain yogurt!)

That, and… I add a touch of chocolate syrup to it.

Here’s the recipe that finally won them over:

2 c. ice

2 c. milk (I’ve found almond milk works the best)

3 c. fresh spinach

2 T natural peanut butter (or any nut butter)

2 bananas- if you freeze the bananas ahead of time you can skip the ice or at least decrease

and… a squirt of chocolate syrup if you want the kids to LOVE a spinach smoothie.

I personally love to serve it mid-morning after doing outdoor activities as it also doubles as a great workout recovery drink.

Yay for summer goals!  What can I say? We celebrate the small things. Let me know how it turns out for you if you try it. Or if you have any other smoothie recipes your kids go gaga for!


DIY Blackout Curtains

IMG_0279This fall, I let the kiddos pick out their fabric for curtains. The flames above are my son’s. The problem?  In the Northwest, summer sunlight blazes through the darkest of curtains approximately 20 hours a day. I’m only slightly exaggerating.

I blame myself for reading all those Sandra Boynton books to my kids when they were little. When the first rays of sunshine slip inside, their minds play the words of her book, Wake Up: “Hey, Big Guys, Open your eyes. What do you say? It’s a brand new day! Shout out loud: GOOD MORNING, SUN! HAPPY MORNING, EVERYONE!”

So even though I love, love, love Sandra Boynton books, we don’t like shouting at 5 a.m.  We ventured to Hobby Lobby to find some more dark fabric to add to the curtain backing. Nothing fit the bill.  I asked an employee, “If it were you, which dark fabric would you choose?”

She blinked. “Blackout fabric.”

My world changed. “WHAT? They SELL blackout fabric?!”

I promptly got a few yards and handed over my 40% off coupon and walked out thinking, “Why doesn’t everyone do this?”  Because those blackout curtain panels are expensive!  So my little helper is cutting out the fabric before I give it a quick run through the sewing machine.

If I were more crafty, I’d probably attach hooks to the back of the curtain and slits on the top of the blackout fabric to make it removable but given I have two teens in the house who will like sleeping in when given the chance, this fits the bill.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s 830 a.m. and my kiddos are still asleep. Time to open up their blackout curtains, but it’s okay –I’m wearing earplugs.