Friday, February 21, 2014

I read with interest and sadness the Wall Street Journal article "As World's Kids Get Fatter,  Doctors Turn to the Knife" on the rise in bariatric surgery on children.  Subtitle:  "Obesity rates are soaring in Saudi Arabia and other wealthy Gulf states, leading to a boom in bariatric surgery on children."  Read the entire article here.

A boom.  On children.  Really?

I have no doubt that lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyles, and access to unhealthy foods are all contributing factors.  Forgive me if the know-it-all me is coming through here, but I have to wonder if child rearing is not also playing a part.

Caveat:  This article is about a particular child in Saudi Arabia and I know nothing, nothing, about child rearing in Saudi Arabia.

That being said, there is a problem with childhood obesity in this country too and I do have quite a bit of experience and knowledge of child rearing here.  Maybe there are extenuating factors.  Maybe a metabolism problem.  Maybe some other unique feature of the digestive system which is fearsomely complex.  Maybe it has to do with medications or the fact that we humans have been eating for a long time things that aren't really food.  Maybe.

But as a mother I have to wonder where obedience factors in here.  My children always needed permission to eat, particularly if the food was in the category of sweets or treats.  The only foods my children could eat without permission were fruits and vegetables.  Those they could eat at any time, even right before dinner.  Was this dictatorial?  I don't think so.  As the adult I'm responsible for making sure my children make good choices.

I also have the responsibility to require obedience from my children.  I realize this viewpoint is rather out of favor right now.  But there is a reason children are put under their parents' authority.  They don't have the maturity to make good judgements!  Some children will eat an entire package of cookies.  Parents need to prevent that from happening for the child's sake!

Children must be required to obey their parents.  It's Biblical.  It's true.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Saturday was the "Snowcoming" dance at my daughter's high school.

Below:  Mary helping Liz to get ready.

While Liz and her date went to the dance Mike, Mary, and I went out to dinner with his parents (who just happen to be very good friend of ours. :-)  So nice.

I love when my children's realtionships overlap with my husband's and mine.  It feels very comfortable.  

Monday, February 17, 2014

I love sunny weather in the winter.  This year it is particularly welcome because the sidewalks have been snow and ice covered for so long.  Even when the temperature stays well below freezing the sun can melt the snow on the sidewalks.

Yesterday, they looked like this picture.  Today, there is mostly concrete!  Why does this matter?  There is ice under most of the snow and I don't want to fall when walking our dog.  Ice with a little bit of snow covering can be really treacherous. Dry pavement?  Love it.  Even if it's cold, the dry pavement is wonderful.

It may even go up into the 40s this week!!  I can't wait!  If, and it's a big if, the streets are dry I may even go out for a bike ride with my daughter!  Spring can't be far away!  (OK, I've got a calendar.  It IS far away but what a taste of Spring to be able to go for a bike ride.0

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

This winter is making us all weary here in Michigan.

We've had record breaking amounts of snow-- nearly 6 feet.  And since my husband hurt his back pretty badly this Fall I'm doing most of the shoveling.  The girls help when they're home.  Today I hurt MY back a little.  Wasn't really the fault of the snow though.  There was only a little dusting.  I was just moving too fast.   It feels OK now.  (after Motrin)

I actually love the snow.  It's so beautiful.  But this winter it has come so quickly and in such amounts.  The sidewalks will usually clear if they're salted and the sun is out.  But salt doesn't work lower than about 15 degrees.  And we have had many, many (most?) days with temperatures lower than that.  So many sidewalks are snow and ice covered.  That together with the dangerously cold temperatures make it hard to even take the poor dog for a walk.

It makes a person want to complain!

OK.  How about a positive statement.  This morning I left with my daughter to drop her off at school.  In our kitchen we have a thermometer with a sensor outside.  This year the sensor got wet from all the snow and now it doesn't work.  So Mary and I were discussing what we thought the outdoor temp was.  We guessed somewhere in the teens.  We agreed that there was too much of a bite in the air for it to be in the twenties, which is just normal cold.  Probably the teens because it didn't seem TOO terribly cold. As we passed the Arborland thermometer we saw that it was in the single digits!!  So what is the positive statement?  We are getting tough.  Blood must be thickening.  Single digits temperatures don't seem all that bad!!  Really, it was noticeably different from the bone chilling sub zero temperatures we have had!  LOL

Well, Spring will be all that more delightful for the severity of this winter.  I can't wait to see the first snowdrops.  (That's a flower :-)  We've already seen plenty of the other kind of drops!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Grandma's Macaroni and Cheese

This recipe is being posted as part of a Meatless Friday Link Party at

As Lent approaches is gathering meatless recipes for all those upcoming Fridays!

My family loves this macaroni and cheese.  All six of my children love it and that makes it a rare recipe indeed.  What I love about it is its simplicity!!  It's SO easy.  We dubbed it "Grandma's Macaroni and Cheese" because it is a recipe of my mother-in-law's, no doubt one of those oldie but goodie ones, no muss, no fuss.

So, here it is.     Grandma's Macaroni and Cheese

1 # ziti or Ready Cut Pasta (That's how Grandma wrote it.  I use Rigate or Mostaccioli

1 cup Tomato soup

1 cup Tomato Sauce

1 cup water

1/2 # Shredded Sharp Cheese (I use Cheddar.)

1/4 cup minced onion

Boil pasta according to directions.
In saucepan, saute onions in whatever (butter, Smart Balance, etc.  as much as you want).  Then add tomato soup, tomato sauce, and water.  It mixes easily with a whisk.  Then add half the cheese and stir until it melts.  Put pasta in any kind of casserole dish.  (I usually use 9x13 glass) Add the sauce and cheese mixture.  Then sprinkle remaining cheese on top.  Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

Here is the original recipe written out by my mother-in-law.  (Obviously, used many times.)

Enjoy!!!  And try it anytime, not just during Lent!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

From this morning's Magnicat reading:
Psalm 119
.....At the end of a long night of sleeplessness or suffering, sunrise brings joy and hope for the day to come.  At the end of the long night of death and sin, the rising of Christ, the Sun of Justice, brings joy and hope for the life to come.  In the light of the Resurrection, we see and live anew, knowing that all is in and from God's hand, returning all to him with thanks and praise. 
The heavens proclaim the glory of God
and the firmament shows forth the work of his hands.
Day unto day takes up the story
and night unto night make known the message.

The glory of God is all over the world.  May we begin each day acknowledging this fact and giving him thanks and praise.  God is good.  All the time.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Weather here in Michigan had reminded me of the following Thomas Hardy Poem from Your Daily Poem.

Snow in the Suburbs
Thomas Hardy
Every branch big with it,
Bent every twig with it;
Every fork like a white web-foot;
Every street and pavement mute:
Some flakes have lost their way, and grope back upward when
Meeting those meandering down they turn and descend again.
The palings are glued together like a wall,
And there is no waft of wind with the fleecy fall.

A sparrow enters the tree,
Whereon immediately
A snow-lump thrice his own slight size
Descends on him and showers his head and eye
And overturns him,
And near inurns him,
And lights on a nether twig, when its brush
Starts off a volley of other lodging lumps with a rush.

The steps are a blanched slope,
Up which, with feeble hope,
A black cat comes, wide-eyed and thin;
And we take him in.

The snow has just kept coming.  We are getting several more inches today, combined with freezing rain.  I'm trying to be positive.  The more arduous the winter the more glorious the arrival of Spring.  How's that?  And this winter is not without its beautiful moments.

The little finches are coming to the finch feeder.  So sweet.

Views of cold, crisp sunrises from my bedroom window.

A cardinal feeding in my back yard bird feeder.  See the little red spot?  So beautiful against the black and white backdrop.

And the snow itself has a beauty all its own.  (Not to mention the satisfaction of seeing one's sidewalk all shoveled!!

God is good.  All the time.  And I will praise him for the glorious beauty of winter (and ignore the grumblings in my heart.  :-)