Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Some things can never be forgotten. The Lamaze breathing techniques that I learned more than 30 years ago came out of retirement today as I led my daughter-in-law through series after series of patterned-breathing. While my son applied pressure to his wife’s back, I held up my fingers and breathed randomly-chosen breathing sequences with her. It has been a long night and day and still no baby yet. Because I am still at the hospital awaiting the birth of my first grandchild, there will be no regular Friday’s Fresh Five! today.

20140829-165345.jpg

Read Full Post »

Reflections on Then and Now Then and now. One moment a baby and now soon to be a father. Where do the days go? Have you noticed how precious moments string together to create days that bundle into months that lump into years that stretch into decades. That’s where the days go. They grow and they flow and they circle ’round and ’round. Quick! Grab this moment and hang onto it for as long as you can. It will be gone soon. Sure, there are more moments headed your way, but how many of these will you appreciate and cherish? All of them, I hope.

#1 – Baby Clothes
Mementos From Baby Clothes Because I’m the sentimental type, I saved some of my children’s baby clothes. Not all of them, only the special pieces that were either made or embellished for them or that bring back special memories. I gave my son some of his baby clothes as a gift at a baby shower and it will be fun to see his children wearing them. If you have baby clothes that are sentimental to you, but not in good enough condition to be passed down, you may want to read 10 Ways To Make a Memento Out of Old Baby Clothing.

#2 – A Moment to Remember
Watching 15-month-old Kayden experience the feel of rain and listening to her say “Wow!” is a cute reminder of how there can be joy in simple things and how to truly savor a moment.

#3 – 100 Happy Days
!00 Happy Days The 100 Happy Days Foundation challenges you to identify, photograph, and share something that makes you happy each day for 100 days in a row. Whether you choose to participate in the program or do it on your own, it is a great way to train yourself to look for happiness.

#4 – Catching the Wave
PWave Photography by Clark Little Surfer and photographer Clark Little photographs waves, shorebreaks, and backwashes. His work is spectacular and his philosophy, “I just went out and did what I did; did what I loved and it just kind of happened,” is what more of us should strive to do. Watch how he got started in this creative endeavour:

#5 – Moments
“The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.”
Ashley Montagu

“The way a book smells when you thumb through it. The way quiet winter air makes you feel like no one else exists. The smell of the woods after a thunderstorm. That split second before your chair tips back. The feeling right before you cry. The euphoria before the heartbreak. That moment when you wonder if they think of you the way you think of them. These things, I live for.”
— Katie Humphreys

“Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.”
William Feather

Go now and spread joy!

Read Full Post »

Dads Dads come in all shapes and sizes, so here’s a Father’s Day wish I penned for all fathers that’s short on words, long in sentiment, and big in heart: Thanks for blowing air in our sails and anchoring us during storms. Thanks for dreaming the big dreams and making us believers. Thanks for loving us like no one else could and for sacrificing as only you would. Thanks for loving our mothers and respecting them, too. But mostly, thanks for just being you. On this Father’s Day, may the love and devotion you give come back to you a thousand times over. Happy Father’s Day!

#1 – My Dad
Remember watching the Donna Reed Show? Well, at the risk of revealing my age, I remember it. I also remember listening to Paul Peterson’s song My Dad. As a Father’s Day tribute, here’s a blast from the past.

#2 – Dadvice
Dadvice One of my sons is going to be a new dad this summer and I’m thrilled. I’m sure he’s going to be in need of some parenting advice at some time or another, so this is for him, as well as all new dads and dads-to-be: Dadvice is a collection of “90 tips and tricks, do’s and don’ts, try-this’s and skip-that’s, for every stage of fatherhood. It’s the most complete, most comprehensive list available anywhere. Print it. Bookmark it. Share it. Tweet it.”

Here are some examples:

Imagine being hired as a pilot with no training. “Here’s the cockpit. Good luck getting to Houston.” That’s what it’s like coming home with a newborn. And it’s like that for everyone.

Cargo shorts are a diaper bag you can wear.

Travel with an extra set of clothes. Both for you and the kid.

If you let your kid play with the iPhone, put it on “airplane mode.”

Tell your partner “thank you.” A lot. And let your children hear you say it.

#3 – Unusual Gifts For Dad
Father's Day Gift Ideas Still thinking about that special gift for dad? What about a laser pizza cutter? Or what about an espresso maker made from an actual race car engine? To see these and more, check out 13 Food & Drink Father’s Day Gifts That Will Guarantee You’re His Favorite Child.

#4 – Miles O’Brien
Miles O'Brien TV reporter Miles O’Brien lost an arm while on assignment. Read his story Life, After and learn what he’s gained from his loss.

#5 – What Matters
“It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.”
Anne Sexton

Now go and spread joy!

Read Full Post »

DIY Fabric Tags Late-night cravings and weight gain are taking their toll on my body. Tell me again, when is the baby due? With months to go, my daughter-in-law’s pregnancy seems to be progressing far too slowly for this excited Chinese grandma or Yin Yin, as I will be called. In an effort to curb my sympathetic pregnancy symptoms (did I already mention late-night cravings and weight gain?) and to use some of my anticipatory energy, I’ve started making things for my upcoming grandbaby. Not wanting to appear self-obsessed, but still wanting to convey the love that went into each handmade piece, I decided to create my own fabric labels. After a little online search, I came across a helpful article on the wonderful site lil blue boo. I don’t know and I don’t care whether the baby is a boy or a girl, but I do know that he or she has already captured my heart!

SUPPLIES
SuperSoft Inkjet Transfer Paper
Ink jet printer
Iron
Ironing board
Pillowcase
Scissors
Assorted ribbon, optional

DIRECTIONS
1. Design your tag, logo, etc. on a computer.

2. Fill a page with different sized fonts of your design to suit your purposes. My font sizes ranged from 16 to 36. DIY Fabric Tags: Positive image

3. Flip your page of designs on the computer, because you will need a reverse image to print on the transfer paper. DIY Fabric Tags: Reverse image

4. Print a test sample using plain paper.

5. Stick a sheet of transfer paper into your printer and print according to the manufacturer’s suggestions. The light blue side is the back side of the paper. Do not print on this side. SuperSoft Inkjet Transfer Paper

6. Using scissors or a paper cutter, cut into tag-sized pieces.
DIY Fabric Tags: Cut into pieces

7. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to transfer image to fabric.

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. I used Pages to reverse the image, because I didn’t know how to do it using Word.

2. I recommend printing a sample of your design page on plain paper first, before printing on the transfer paper. Doing this, you will be able to see any mistakes, any need for color adjustment, spacing issues, etc.

3. Make sure to use an old pillowcase to iron on and to protect your ironing board, because scorching from the iron may occur and excess adhesive may stick to the pillowcase.

4. I purchased the SuperSoft Inkjet Transfer Paper through the Dharma Trading Company.

5. This particular transfer paper is soft enough to be used as a “tagless” tag. Transfer image directly onto fabric, instead of ribbon.

Add a nice finishing touch to your handmade gifts by creating your own fabric tags!

Read Full Post »

I Love Yin Yin What Do I Call Her?
A few days before the arrival of my father’s mother from China in 1960, I lean on the kitchen counter and ask my grandfather, “What do I call her?” Busy preparing the family’s supper, he pauses, looks at me intently, and replies, “You call her Yin Yin.” In Toisanese, a Chinese dialect, Yin Yin refers to the grandmother on the father’s side. In the Chinese language, every grandparent has a designated title. After decades of political red tape, my Yin Yin, the last of the family to immigrate to the United States, is leaving her small country village in China to be reunited with her family.

Even though I was a child at the time, I remember waiting at the airport for her arrival. As the family watched passengers deplane, my uncles joked, “Is that her?” or “Maybe she’s the one?” Because it had been so long since they’d last seen their mother, they could not recognize her. For my grandfather and for my father, the oldest son, the end to their 22-year wait was nearly over.

Love at First Touch
Standing in front of me, my Yin Yin utters my Chinese name. I fall into her arms as she embraces me for the first time. It is love at first touch. No awkwardness, no shyness – it is as if I’d known her love forever.

Although cancer cut her time with us short, my Yin Yin cherished the days she spent with her family. I became her little shadow. I helped her hang the laundry out to dry, defrost the freezer, pick slugs off the vegetables and water the garden. She taught me to speak Chinese and I taught her to speak English. When she made Chinese dumplings, she popped them into my mouth as soon as they finished steaming. I deem those eight years with her my chubby years.

Yin Yin’s Tea Cozy
Decades later, my sister and I stoop in the dusty attic of my father’s old family home in China. Using a small flashlight, we conduct a final search for any keepsakes that should go back to the States with us. In a dark corner, where the angles of the roof meet, we find an old tea cozy basket. Taking care while opening it, we are surprised by the basket’s contents. Both happiness and sadness flood my heart as I recognize the photos that my grandmother must have placed there for safekeeping. Photos of my grandfather, my parents, my uncles and aunts, and my sister and me – people my grandmother loved, but people she’d not seen in decades or ever met – nestled against the floral fabric lining of the cozy. Standing in the attic, I think about how happy she must have been to leave the photos behind and the joy she must have felt at the prospect of seeing her grown-up sons and meeting her grandchildren for the first time. The journey back to China with my family reunites me, in many ways, with my Yin Yin.

Call Me Yin Yin
All the gifts under the Christmas tree have been opened, but my second son passes out one more to everyone in the family. “You have to open up these presents together,” both he and his wife say. I am suspicious, because his camera lens points at me. We open our little packages and words of excitement flutter out of our mouths. Each of us holds a newborn-sized onesie. Happiness leaves me speechless and then I smile. I’m going to be a Yin Yin! I can’t wait to share all the love that my Yin Yin gave to me with my grandchild!

Read Full Post »

Buster and Ruca With his Santa’s hat askew, Buster, a black Lab, looks warily over at Ruca, his playful Corgi cousin from New York. “Is she still there?” one could only imagine him thinking as he tries to avoid eye contact with her. Despite their size difference, Ruca herds Buster over to the sofa and makes sure he remains there. Watching the two interact with each other, I am reminded of how looks can be deceiving.

#1 – Not All Things Are What They Seem
25 Things That Are Not What They Seem While thinking about how looks can be deceiving, I came across this list of 25 Things That Are Not What They Seem. It’s an interesting read, especially for trivia buffs!

#2 – The Science of Happiness
Many people fall prey to the deception of what will make them happy. Why are some people happier than others? What do happy people possess that others don’t? Check out this infographic to learn about the science of happiness.

How to Be Happy

#3 – What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

He’s young, but he’s wise. When 13-year-old Logan LaPlante is asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he answers, “happy and healthy.” In this TEDx Talk, he discusses Hackschooling and how it differs from traditional schooling. Traditionally “school is geared toward making a better living, rather than a better life.” Watch his thought-provoking presentation and see if it doesn’t get you thinking about your own education or your children’s education.

#4 – Trash or Treasure?
Do It Yourself Craft Ideas Upcycling is the art of taking something no longer used and converting it into something useful. We deceive ourselves every day by trashing objects that can be transformed and given a new life. Make this the year you begin upcycling and for ideas, check out these Do It Yourself Craft Ideas.

#5 – Self-Deception
“Human potential is the same for all. Your feeling, ‘I am of no value,’ is wrong. Absolutely wrong. You are deceiving yourself. We all have the power of thought – so what are you lacking? If you have willpower, then you can change anything. It is usually said that you are your own master.”
Dalai Lama

Now Go and Spread Joy!

Read Full Post »

Grilled Fish Tacos If you raise children to have adventurous taste buds and you give them an appreciation for well-prepared food, most likely they will grow up to be good cooks. This little bit of parental advice may not hold true for everyone, but I’ve been rewarded in spades. All my children enjoy cooking good food as much as they enjoy eating good food. Not only do my children enjoy good food, they also share it. I’ve been the lucky recipient of some really wonderful meals prepared by them. A couple of weeks ago, my middle child and his wife treated me to delicious homemade fish tacos. Because they were so good, I had big-time cravings for them and had to make them for myself. These fish tacos are easy to prepare, moist, flavorful, and healthy. No batter or deep-frying involved. Fish Taco Fridays may become a regular occurrence in this household!

Grilled Fish Tacos
Adapted from a Bobby Flay recipe

INGREDIENTS
Tacos:
1 pound white fish, such as mahi mahi, orata, tilapia, basa, etc.
1/4 cup canola oil
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 jalapeño, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
8 flour tortillas*

Garnish:
Shredded white cabbage
Hot sauce, tomato salsa, or pico de gallo
Crema or sour cream
Thinly sliced red onion
Thinly sliced green onion
Chopped cilantro leaves
Queso Fresco, crumbled

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

2. Place fish in a medium size dish. Whisk together the oil, lime juice, ancho, jalapeño, and cilantro and pour over the fish. Let marinade for 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Remove the fish from the marinade and place onto a hot grill. Grill the fish for 4 minutes on the first side and then flip for 30 seconds and remove. Let rest for 5 minutes.

4. Place the tortillas on the grill for 20 seconds.

Serves 4

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. *I use corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas. I think they are a better choice for tacos and they are slightly healthier to eat.

2. If you don’t want to grill the tortillas, you can warm them up in a frying pan on your cooktop.

3. The Kachumbari Salad I prepared last week goes wonderfully with these fish tacos.

Enjoy!

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 129 other followers

%d bloggers like this: