July 30, 2010

Vital, Viable and Vivid Vegetables

(photo by Dreamstime.com)

Fun Facts About Vital, Viable, and Vivid Vegetables!
  • I learned just this morning that the fear of vegetables is called Lacharophobia. Which may or may not lead right into the next fact!
  • Only about one third of Americans eat the daily vegetable requirement.
  • Potatoes and lettuce are the two most popular vegetables in the U.S.
  • Almost all lettuce is packed right in the field.
  • Darker green vegetables contain more vitamin C than lighter green ones.
  • The longer that vegetables sit around waiting to be eaten, the more nutrients they lose. Then when they come in contact with water or heat, they lose even more nutrients at an even faster rate.  So if this concerns you, then eat raw vegetables to get more nutrients.  
  • Chopping vegetables into larger pieces rather than smaller ones helps them keep their nutrients because there is less of a surface to come in contact with the air or water.
  • And since many of the nutrients go into the cooking water, don't throw that water away.  Use it for soup.
  • Australians typically put pickled beets and/or a fried egg on burgers (in addition to the regular ketchup, mustard, etc)
  • Tomatoes are a fruit and were once considered a kind of apple by France and Italy.
  • Asparagus is related to onions, leeks, and garlic.  California grows about 70% of all the asparagus grown in the US.
  • The average person in the United States eats four and one half pounds of  broccoli a year.
  • The plant pigment that gives carrots and other vegetables their orange color is Beta-Carotene.  Our bodies convert Beta-Carotene into Vitamin A which helps our bodies fight infection and keeps our skin and hair healthy.
There you go--vital, viable, and vivid fun facts about vegetables.  Help yourself get your veggie fix today by choosing one of these facts and telling someone else!

July 25, 2010

I Still Love the Original Meaning of "Bookmark"

I just did a Google search on "bookmarks."  And suddenly before me, on the search results,  were pages and pages of  links in which  people were asking questions or giving information about "bookmarking" on their computers or the internet. You know, as in "Remember to bookmark our site", etc. 

Not exactly the kind of "bookmarks" I was searching for.  I think my age is showing!  I was referring to the kind of bookmarks I received when I was a kid in Sunday School or VBS.   I received them for perfect attendance or for memorizing the day's Bible verse.

I remember when I was in third grade, I received a bookmark from the irate school librarian after she discovered I had "dog eared" one of  her library books.  Up until then, I had not known there was anything wrong with that.  But I promise you that I have never turned down the corner of a page in any book since then!

When I lived in Indonesia, a native Indonesian sold me some bookmarks he had made from the bark of trees.  Then there are the bookmarks I have all over my house that I have acquired one way or another.

Of course, I can never find one of those bookmarks when I need one.  So then I resort to using an old envelope,  a store receipt, or even a tissue from the Puff box!  Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, excepting it's kind of  like resorting to chewing shoe leather when I could really have tender steak!

Anyway, back to my Google search for "bookmarks".  Looking carefully,  I did find a few sites that talked about the history of bookmarks--yes, the kind I was searching for!  And they actually do have a history!

I learned, for instance, that people realized early on that they needed something to mark the place in books. Books long ago were scarce and very valuable.  Their spines could be injured if they were put face down.  And already back then, it was a "no-no" to crease  the corners.  (In third grade, I probably thought the librarian had lived "back then!")

One of the first references of the use of bookmarks goes back to 1584.  Christopher Barker gave Queen Elizabeth I a fringed silk bookmarker. Then in the 1700's, books were made with narrow silk ribbons bound into the spine of the books that the reader would tuck in the page to be marked.  My family's very old family Bible has such a silk marker.

And throughout the years, bookmarks have been made of paper, leather, ribbon, silk, linen, satin, plastic, cooper, gold, pewter, brass, glass beads, wood, ivory, bone, papyrus, cardboard, bark, and animal skins.  Maybe you can think of more to add to this list.

I still love the original meaning of "bookmark."  I love books, and I love to read! And they are nice little rewards to give to children who, hopefully, also are learning to love books and love reading.

July 23, 2010

What a Bargain Grandchildren Are!

(photo by Willeecole,Dreamstime.com)

This blog post is for my sister Ruthie and my good friend Kathryn who have both just become grandma again. And, of course,  for their husbands, too, who add "pa" to "grand."
  • What a bargain grandchildren are!  I give them my loose change, and they give me a million dollars' worth of pleasure.  --Gene Perret
  • I've learned that when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, you're hooked for life. -- Andy Rooney
  •  Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting.  ~Author Unknown
  • Grandmothers are just antique little girls.  ~Author Unknown
  • Grandfathers are just antique little boys.  ~Author Unknown
  • Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild.  ~Welsh Proverb
  • To become a grandparent is to enjoy one of the few pleasures in life for which the consequences have already been paid.  ~Robert Brault
  • Being pretty on the inside means you don't hit your brother and you eat all your peas - that's what my grandma taught me.  ~Lord Chesterfield
  • Two things I dislike about my granddaughter - when she won't take her afternoon nap, and when she won't let me take mine.  ~Gene Perret
  • No cowboy was ever faster on the draw than a grandparent pulling a baby picture out of a wallet.  ~Author Unknown
  • A grandmother pretends she doesn't know who you are on Halloween.  ~Erma Bombeck
  • My grandchild has taught me what true love means.  It means watching Scooby-Doo cartoons while the basketball game is on another channel.  ~Gene Perret

July 20, 2010

Save the Family

 (both photos from Dreamstime.com)

 I found this information on  a blog named   Save the Family.   Since I can't say it any better myself, I copied the information below.   However, all credit definitely goes to Save the Family.

I don't even mind if you leave my blog to check out this other blog!  It is  packed full of "right-on" information for couples, singles, and children.  Don't pass  it by!

Family Bonding:  Work, school, extracurricular activities; these daily activities that make our lives so busy create difficulties for parents to foster a bond with their children. While your children are out of school for the summer you can easily strengthen family relationships by spending time with one another, listening to each other, and respecting each other’s opinions. Below are ten easy things a parent can do to form stronger bonds with their children.

1. Try and eat dinner together with no distractions, such as television or phones. Eating a family meal together not only promotes better eating habits, but also gives family members time to discuss their day and any good or challenging things happening in their life.
2. A great way of having fun while bonding with your family is to create a “Family Night” where the entire family participates in an activity. This can be as easy as a board game night, an evening out at a fun family restaurant, or to go see a movie.
3. Helping a child with their homework not only allows you to spend time together, but enables you to see what they are learning and how they are doing academically. Your support and praise will go a long way in boosting their confidence in school.
4. When planning a family vacation you can ask your children where they want to go and what they want to see or do. By incorporating them in the planning process you make them feel like an integral part of the family.
5. Many children have extracurricular activities like sports or dance. By involving yourself in these activities and praising them on their participation you are helping build their confidence as well as strengthening your bond.

6. Many parents know that reading to your child daily increases their literacy, but it also allows for a time when both parent and child are completely focused on one another and can communicate freely about the book or other subjects.

7. Teaching your children the importance of volunteerism and giving back by volunteering for a local charity or organization can show them the importance of what they have and make them a more socially conscience person.

8. Getting involved in your children’s hobbies, whether it is collecting baseball cards or horseback riding, shows your support of their chosen activity and allows them to feel they can express themselves in any way.

9. By encouraging your children to be active and exercising together you foster healthier habits for both you and your child while you both communicate about the activities you are doing.

10. Childhood, especially the adolescent years, is incredibly hard on the self esteem of many children. By telling a child you love them and giving compliments or positive feedback frequently you can foster their confidence and perception of themselves. By listening and being supportive of their ideas, even if you don’t agree, makes them feel as if they can come to you with their problems and discuss their true feelings.

There is nothing better than having a place you can call home, where you feel loved, appreciated and safe. As a parent, having a strong bond with your children creates a feeling of unity and safety. It is important to do all you can to create these family bonds to ensure a happier and healthier family. Following any of the above activities this summer can help assist you and your family in creating a strong life long bond and help foster better parenting skills for you.

Again, this information comes from Save the Family.  

July 17, 2010

EGGciting Facts and EGGcellent Books

(Photo by Dreamstime.com)

  • National egg month is celebrated the month of May.
  • A hard-cooked egg will peel more easily if it is a week or  two old before it is cooked.
  • Peeling eggs will be easier if you add 2 tablespoons white vinegar to every quart of water you use to cook them.
  • The egg yolk and white separate best when cold.  Egg whites will beat to a better volume if they're allowed to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before beating.
  • The egg shell has as many as 17,000 tiny pores over its surface.  Through them, the egg can absorb flavors and odors.  So storing them in their cartons helps keep them fresh.
  • Egg yolk is the major source of the egg's vitamins and minerals.
  • Artificial color additives are not allowed in chicken feed.  However, natural yellow-orange substances such as marigold petals may be added to light colored feeds to enhance the yolk color.
  • Eggs can be kept refrigerated in their carton for at least 4 weeks beyond the pack date.
  • You probably know that the older eggs are, the more they will spread out when cracked open in a pan.  Do you also know that you can add several drops of vinegar to the water when poaching eggs?  The acid of the vinegar will help the proteins of the eggs to coagulate.  So the egg whites will not spread as much.
  • Eggs age more in one day at room temperature than in one week in the refrigerator.
  • A large egg contains only 75 calories and 5 grams of  fat.
  • A hen takes 24-26 hours to produce an egg.  Thirty minutes later, she starts all over again!

July 12, 2010

Pass the Vinegar, Please

This information will interest you if you have any aspirations of being a vinegar connoisseur!  Or, even if you don't!

Roslyn, South Dakota is the home of the International Vinegar Museum and the International Vinegar Festival.  Ever heard of them before?  The "international" is because they are the only vinegar museum and festival in the world.

The Museum displays vinegar from all over the world and also shows products made from vinegar, including paper.  You can learn interesting facts about vinegar. For example, people have been making vinegar for thousands of years using whatever fermentable food product happened to be on hand.  This includes rice in the Orient, grapes in Greece, wheat in England (for the "malt vinegar" they put on fish and chips), and corn or apples in the US.

You can take a tour that includes vinegar taste testing.  You can even purchase unique products such as vinegar room deodorizer.

The International Vinegar Festival includes: the crowning of the Royal Quart (no, I didn't make a spelling error here!), arts and crafts, a parade, live entertainment, and a cooking show using vinegar.

I can't say I would plan a vacation to Roslyn, South Dakota.  But if I ever just happened to be there anyway, I most certainly would want to visit this museum and festival. It could be a conversation starter at the lunch table, too!

July 8, 2010

Fishers of Men and Women and Boys and Girls

The fish was an early symbol of Christian faith.  It is thought that the early Christians chose it for several possible reasons:
  • the Greek word for fish (ICHTUS), fits nicely as an acrostic for "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior"
  • Persecutors of Christians would be oblivious to the fish as a Christian symbol.
  • Jesus' linked His ministry with fish: he chose several fishermen as disciples and declared he would make them "fishers of men."
During the persecution of the early church, it is said that if a Christian met a stranger, he would draw a single arch in the sand. If the other person was a Christian, he would understand the meaning of the arch, and would complete the drawing of a fish with a second arch, identifying himself as another Christian.. But if the second person was not a Christian, he would not understand the half-symbol and could not complete the fish.  The Christian would know not to reveal himself as a Christian and possibly be subjected to persecution.

Related Bible Verse:

 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. (Mark 1:16-18)

July 3, 2010

Seven Years Bad Luck?

Do you believe the superstition that if you break a mirror you'll have seven years of bad luck? 

Centuries ago, before there was such a thing as a breakable mirror, any shiny surface was considered a mirror.  It was also considered a tool of the gods.  When people looked at their reflections in a pond or a shiny metal, for instance, they thought this was their "other" self.  And this "other" self should not be disturbed in any way.

When glass mirrors were made,  the Romans decided that not only was it bad luck to break a mirror, but you'd have seven long years of it!

Why seven?  One Roman idea was that life renewed itself every seven years.  Since a broken mirror meant broken heath, it was thought you would need seven years to recover.  Another Roman idea was that since the phases of the moon change every seven days, they held the moon responsible not only for the tides of the ocean, but also for the "tides" of man.

And there is a very practical reason why one would not want to break a mirror.  They were very expensive and only the rich could afford them.  So a servant, for example, handled a mirror with great care because whoever broke one would have to replace it.  It might easily take seven years of saving to pay for another mirror!

Have you heard of other mirror beliefs, even today?  Some people won't let a baby look into a mirror or they think the child may die before it is a year old.  Other families cover all the mirrors in the house after a death in the family. They fear the soul of the deceased may enter the mirror and be delayed on its journey to heaven.

Aztec Indians kept evil spirits away from the house by placing a jar of water with a knife in it behind the door.  They thought that when an evil spirit entered and saw its reflection in the water with a knife across it, he'd turn and run!