Sunday, September 30, 2012

Why I Like Being the Mother of Boys

A few days ago, my younger son announced, "When I grow up, I'm going to have 3 kids. I'm going to have 2 girls and a boy. If I have 2 boys and a girl, I'm screwed."

I don't particularly approve of his word choice, but I had to laugh.

My son has perceived a truth, though. There is something different about boys. I don't mean that boys and girls can't enjoy the same activities. My boys love decorating cookies, and my girl is showing every sign of becoming a daredevil. However, there is something just fundamentally different about the manner in which the boys approach life. This became very clear to me last winter during a ski club meeting. My friend's two daughters were sitting quietly on a bench, efficiently donning their ski equipment, chit chatting about their favorite stuff. Meanwhile, my boys were yelling, "Hey, I have my helmet on -- Hit me in the head!" "Ok, now you hit me in the head!" "Ha, ha! Your turn! Hit me in the head!" "Harder!" The girls just stared at them like they were from Mars.

Even though boys act physically wilder and rougher than girls, there is something that is also sweeter and more tender about them, too. Boys aren't emotionally manipulative. They might be more than happy to fight something out, but they're direct and honest. None of the cattiness or Machiavellian antics that I've watched girls -- even nice girls -- pull.

I think my favorite part of having boys is seeing the way they take care of me. When my older son was about 7, we were playing frisbee, and it kept going into the woods where there were lots of raspberry canes. After seeing me get tangled up in the thorns, my son said, "Oh, no, mom, I'll get it. I don't want you to get scratched!" It was such a sweet gesture from a small boy, but they're protective like that. They're always trying to save me from dangers like brambles and bugs and heights. In their efforts to shield me, I see the budding of men who will watch over their wives and children. It makes me happy and proud.
It's not that I don't love and enjoy my daughter. She's special for different reasons. However, for the record, I just wanted to say that having 2 boys and a girl is not the end of the world. Far from feeling "screwed," I wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, September 28, 2012

DIY Jewelry Rack

My necklaces have been getting tangled up in my jewelry box, which quite frankly bugs me. For some time now, I've been searching Pinterest for ideas to hang and organize them. While I've found some very pretty ideas, none of them seem to be able to accommodate the volume of jewelry I have. Then a couple of weeks ago, my mother-in-law suggested a brilliant idea.

For less than $10, I purchased a cheap thread rack at Walmart, which I spray-painted ivory. Being somewhat lazy, I didn't bother using screws and anchors to hang it. I just used those Command Velcro strips for hanging pictures. Easy peasy.

Spray painted thread rack.
Too bad I didn't notice the missing dowel before I painted it.
No biggie. I can fix that with dowels I already have,
though I doubt anyone will notice once the necklaces are on it.

Voila! Finished jewelry organizer!

I still have a number of necklaces left to hang, but I think
this will easily accommodate them all!

Kitchen Product Review: Plastic Sushi Mat

I love sushi. I do not love bamboo sushi mats.

Yes, there is something lovely about the color and feel of a bamboo mat, and they work so beautifully at making nice tight rolls. However, they just don't clean up very well. Of course, part of the problem is that my kids like to use seasoned laver (instead of sushi laver), which has oil on it. Naturally, some of that oil gets transferred to the mat. But I can't throw the mats in the dishwasher, and if I wash them by hand, they absorb dish soap until sushi eventually starts tasting like Palmolive.If I just give it a rinse and wipe, it starts to build up a nasty sticky residue, but I'm too lazy to put a piece of plastic wrap on them every time I pull out at mat.

Once, I was so disgusted with a sushi mat that I drowned it in boiling water to see if that would get it really clean. What a disaster! I think it must have had some kind of waxy coating because a filmy mess started floating to the top of my pot and... well, it was gross. So now that you have some history, you'll understand why I feel my latest find is so noteworthy.

This white one is available on Amazon.
I've also seen similar products in
other colors if you're looking for
something more fashion forward. :-)
A few weeks ago, I was shopping in a Vietnamese grocery store and found this plastic sushi mat (shown to the right). Reasonably priced at under $2, I figured it was worth trying out.

Pretty much what you see in the photo here is what you get. The entire sushi mat is made of plastic, which is both good and bad. The downside is that it's a little hard to roll up because the plastic is kind of stiff. Also, instead of being composed of round horizontal skewers like a bamboo mat, these horizontal pieces are flat. So from a tactile perspective, it's just not as nice for some reason.The completely awesome upside of it, though, is that I can toss it into the top rack of the dishwasher when I'm done. No mess. No fuss.

My final verdict? I'm not completely in love with this product. However, it is so easy to clean up that I think it's worth spending a little time squeezing and rolling the mat to see if I can make it more pliable. If you have an Asian grocery store near you (or if you feel like spending 5 bucks on Amazon), maybe you could try it and let me know what you think.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Let It Shine

Last week, my husband and I were driving through a rough neighborhood in Hartford. Looking at boarded up windows and run-down buildings, I couldn't help but think to myself that I'd be depressed living in an area like that.

Then I spotted a young woman standing on a street corner trying to coax cars into a car wash. I don't know how to describe her, but she was radiant. It wasn't just her bright yellow t-shirt. There was something about her whole personality that bounced and bubbled over. She exuded sunshine and joy. Watching her, I couldn't help but be happy, too.

She was a lesson to me. Even when it's dark and bleary, one can still be the light, be the source of joy that changes others.

This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine.This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine.Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. 
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