Thursday, August 29, 2013

Grocery Store Musings

'Your Grocer', trade card advertising AMC perfect cereals and flours, c.1887

I have plenty of occasion to muse over how going grocery shopping is like going into a battlefield, of a pit full of snakes.

Several other homemaking bloggers have mentioned how difficult it is to find healthy food for their families, so I know I am not alone in my frustrations over this. Trying to avoid  pesticides is the least of the difficulties now facing the home cook. Try avoiding GMOs, hidden MSG, BPA, antibiotics, and other letters of the toxic alphabet, and then add a soy allergy in the mix and you think the only thing left to eat is lettuce. 

Oh, whoops- lettuce has been sprayed with fluoride.

Just about the time you think you have found something everyone can eat, it comes out in the news that it has been injected with plastic-producing steroids.

Friends' Oats
I must have eaten something in my childhood that affected my memory, because I usually come home from the grocery store with some failure, some food that has an awful ingredient I did not notice, some produce that I forgot was on the dirty dozen or two list, or something has an un-pronounceable ingredient I was hoping was the secret recipe code word instead of another term for MSG.

I try not to sigh too much. While the farmer's markets are open in the summer, things are a bit better, but in the winter one has to go to the grocery store. Until we build a greenhouse and devote the rest of our lives to growing year-round apricots and lettuce, we have to go grocery shopping. 
We pray that God will bless our food, and we hope to live to see better days!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Nature Studies

Passion Vine and Flower

One day I was walking around the yard, and was inspired by a leaf to introduce a lesson in observing nature. My student and I walked around the yard picking samples of "5's" in nature, specifically on our trees and bushes. This was fun because my student was 5 years old.  Some samples were one leaf with 5 divisions, such as this passion vine leaf(above) and the maple and grape leaf (below),

and some had five separate leaves at the end of the stem (or vine, in this case) such as this blackberry (above).

We had to look hard in this wild geranium leaf to see that it, too had five divisions.

I know all of these plants have names, and all the of the leaves and their divisions and non divisions have names, but that will be a lesson for another time. Our point for this one was simply to stop and look more closely at what is around us, especially in our own yard. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Advice for Young Men

Painting: "Off" by Edmund Blair Leighton, wikimedia commons. It looks as though this fellow only lost the cost of the flowers in this situation--but I'll bet he picked them himself.

By The Pleasant Times'
Etiquette Lady and
General Advice-Giver
I have been acquainted with several sad situations where young men lavish gifts on young women, only to be "dumped."

In the get-acquainted stage (some "date" and some "court") these young men will do such things as rent a fancy car and drive to a far city to an expensive restaurant with their date, takes her on a vacation, or buy their girlfriend a car to show how much they admire her, or give her valuable gifts. Some of these young men get dumped at this stage.

Then there are the situations where there is an engagement; the young man not only gives the girl the customary ring, but he lavishes gifts (big and small, but mostly expensive) on the girl. From computers to cars to family antiques, some men seem determined to show how generous they are, or to prove their love with their pocketbook. One young man misguidedly gave a girl a home with himself, and a bank account, dozens of very expensive and generous gifts, and even a dog, all before the wedding.

Well just guess what happened in all of the above situations. That's right, the girls dumped the guys. "Stomped on their heart." Took all of the generosity, used it up and  threw it away. And it was easy to do-- there was no legally binding situation to cause these girls any pause in doing so. Some got away with the goods, some gave them back (the one girl kept the dog, though). Others got the expensive dates and experiences, which is money lost forever. Not only did the poor fellow's heart broke, his bank account broke, too; an added insult to injury.

Painting: "Signing the Marriage Contract" by George Sheridan Knowles, wikimedia commons. This couple seems quite happy to be legally bound.

It was easy for the girls to do this, because there was no or little commitment. An engagement can be ended by giving back the ring. And who cares if you are living with the guy-- you can easily walk out at any time. It drives me nuts that both young men and young women do not realize that living together before marriage brings no guarantees!

In some of these kinds of situations, the careful consideration of a girls' character, morals and home skills seems to be missing.

If a young man and young woman can thoughtfully and prayerfully come to the married state, and legally bind themselves to their vows, they probably have enough maturity and character to get over the bumps in life together, without giving up. I hazard to guess that there would be a little more thought before "dumping," (the situation or the person's character has to be pretty bad before going to all the legal trouble to end the marriage).

"Marriage License", June 11,1955
"Marriage License...
Norman Rockwell
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Here is the advice I wish I could have given to these young men:

  • Expensive gifts do not necessarily produce loyalty or gratefulness. 
  • You cannot change the character of the girl by the amount of gifts you lavish on her.
  • Appropriate gifts during the courting stage: Chocolates and Flowers. 
  • Appropriate gifts during the engagement stage: A Ring and a Promise. 
  • Appropriate gifts during marriage: Be as generous as you want! You are married now-- and this lovely lady you have chosen will provide you with a family and a life long friendship. Here are some beginning suggestions: Chocolates, flowers, rings, dates, dinner out, and NOW you can give a house, bank account, car, vacations, clothing, computer, insurance, (and don't forget the washer, dryer, dishwasher), etc. etc. And be prepared to get some gifts in return! She'll wash your socks for you!

Couple Admiring Roast
Couple Admiring...

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