Hot summer days, busy schedules, and traveling make quick go to meals and snacks essential. Of course, you want healthier options when making your choices! But, it’s alright to cross the line here and there. Recently, I came across “Veggie Straws” at our local Costco’s. Curiously cute idea celebrating “The Fourth of July”, I couldn’t resist buying them. I have served up the crunchy stars and striped snacks twice at family cookouts. I have to say “They were a bang!”
Like many of you, I’m sure, I am already hearing my grandchildren say “I’m bored!” But another daunting question on any ordinary summer day is… “What’s for snack?” Do you find yourself staring at the fridge? It’s like we’re waiting for the answer to jump out at us? Considering what is available, what they will or will not eat, and how feasible a snack is quite challenging.
your Yard holds healthy answers
Of course, fresh fruit or veggies are an option. If you are fortunate enough to have a garden or berry baring bushes, it provides a quick snack. But it also answers our first summertime quandary! Send the kids out to the garden. Occupy the kids as well as feed them a healthy snack. For example, this year our small garden only contains cherry tomatoes, peppers, mint, parsley, and summer squash. While these crops aren’t particularly snack foods, we purposefully planted the cherry tomatoes for the kids to pick.
Surprising momentous ordinary moments
Obviously, its not critical to have a garden. Cherry tomatoes come in a convenient box at your grocery too. However, consider planting potted plants to harvest. It is proven when introducing children to vegetables throughout the growth process, there is a higher success rate that they actually eat it. A previous Gram Blog post https://momentusordinarymoments.wordpress.com/2018/02/13/stop-forcing-your-finicky-eater-to-eat/explains ways to encourage eating comes with cooperative menu planning, collaborative cooking sessions, and experimentation with foods. Even in the city, potted plants provide kids the opportunity to experience fresh produce. As a child, I grew up in the city but weekend visits to the countryside with my grandmother and grandfather gave another dimension to my youth.
Similarly, my granddaughter often recalls days she spent in her great grandfather’s garden. As a toddler until our move north from Florida, she sat with her “Big Grampa” every day possible. Each time meant a trip to his garden gathering up cherry tomatoes. Then, they snacked on her sweet pickings together. When he passed away this past year, part of her ordinary everyday became momentous ordinary moments to her!
Additional grab and go snacks for little hands
Creating treats for road trips may take some thought, but don’t overthink it either. What types of foods did your parents or grandparents pack for a car ride? We went on spur of the moment day trips constantly. My mother bagged up sandwiches, poured coffee in thermoses, and threw in boxed snacks at a moment’s notice.
Amazingly when my mother handed back a box of animal crackers, I had no concept she answered two of my needs with just the one gesture. The cookies satisfied my snack attack craving and stimulated my imagination. Don’t lie, you’ve air-walked the camel cookie in an imaginary safari before biting off one hump! At the very least, matching the cookie animals to the box pictures kept me busy for a couple miles. Another quick favorite was simply “a box of sunshine”, Sunmaid raisins.
Overall you want your summer snacks easy and ready to go on the road. Snacks low in sugar and satisfying are best. Subsequently, limiting seat bouncing and poking incidents in the car! Off the top of my head I suggest grapes, trail mix, and perhaps peanut butter crackers. Obviously, summer wouldn’t be summer unless you save a spot for special treats. There’s nothing like juicy popsicles on lazy afternoons! Furthermore, always keep an open mind to snacks and more for an impromptu picnic option.
That was quick and easy
Given these points, I hope you are able to answer “I’m bored!” and “What’s for snack” quicker this summer. Request my “Travel Trail Mix” recipe. As a subscriber, you will receive an Email with a printable copy! Coming soon, my next post will help you pack a punch in your summer picnic. https://www.agramblog.com/2019/07/04/picnic-checklist- Join me in making momentous ordinary moments for your and your family.
Share the beauty of the ordinary because our everyday is our momentous moments.
Did you know 2.9% of all married couples live long distance relationships? That comes to approximately 3.75 million couples! This subject is of considerable interest to me because, I am one of the 2.9%. It can be done! In fact, my husband and I credit it to why we celebrated our 35th year anniversary back in June.👰🤵
Our lives, seperated and shared, lent certain characteristics to our marriage. While we each worked independently, we acted as one. 💑 As expected, there are extra tweeks to add with a long distance relationship. Because this type of arrangement holds heightened challenges than a traditional marriage, obviously, emphasis upon the basic structure of any commitment such as trust, respect, and humility should exist. Like other married couples, we traveled through the honeymoon phase, the seven year itch, and mid life crises. Each addition to our family 🤰added more responsibility, less time, and more financial burden. Life lessons like “love isn’t everything” didn’t limit us because we learned first and foremost to continue as best friends.
Why would couples complicate their relationships by adding the challenge of distance? The trend that truly takes the numbers to new heights, is the onslaught of Online dating! There are obvious reasons distance becomes a factor, for instance military service and other career choices that mean commuting. It is not always something a couple stepped into knowingly💍, but out of adapting to uncontrollable circumstances. The economy often causes chasing work in different locations. Apparently, it’s not as uncommon as you may think!
It wasn’t always as easy as it is now! Yes, practice has paid off but communication and logistics advancement play an important part. Initially, my husband and I talked once a day during his absence. ☎️ Of course, this was back in the prehistoric times of long distance landline plans 😂. Mounting phone bills was not in the budget! One of the hidden factors for our household is double indemnity. For instance, we finance two households. 🏠🏡 Double the rent, utilities, transportation, and food in a long distance relationship 💲! Technology turned the tide on time in this case. It changed the way we communicate. The ability to text, Facetime, email, allows contact at any given time 24/7. Even the way we handle our finances is different. Instead of waiting for a check in the mail, with electronic funds transfers our funds are instantly available for either of us. Seemingly an incidental occurrence, it plays a large role in our life.
One area of consideration not discussed is the affect on children. A television show once aired called, “Wait Till Your Father Gets Home”. It was an animated series that featured a typical American family consisting of a father, mother, daughter, and son. Each episode headlined a situation that transpired at some given point had to be revealed to the father when he arrived home from work. Do not apply any special authority to one or the other parent. Like everything else in your relationship, parenting needs to be shared!
Top Communication Tips for Long Distance Couples
1. Text timely check ins including emoji hugs and kisses
2. Talk first thing in the morning and the last moment at night
3. Trade pics of current activities i.e. what your eating, the task your working on, etc
4. Take the time to video chat or FaceTime a couple times a week
5. Try to arrange visits around long weekends so travel time won’t apply too much
6. Create relaxing and simple activities during visits
7. Assign one partial day for personal business and errands together
8. Allow each other some privacy
9. Respect each other’s wishes
10. Touch each other simply by holding hands, hugs, passing caresses
For all you grid iron followers, playoffs are in their final brackets. Certainly one of the biggest party days in our household, the NFL’s contest between the AFC and NFC conferences is right up there with Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, and Thanksgiving! No matter which pair up of teams you are routing, NE Patriots vs New Orleans Saints or Kansas City Chiefs vs Los Angeles Rams, you are gearing up for the biggest game of the year. The NFL’s “Super Bowl” sums up the best of the best teams.
This year’s Super Bowl marks its 53rd kickoff! Los Angeles, CA hosted Super Bowl I where the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs faced off. Remarkably for its 1967 premiere, more fans, in fact 61,000 of them, viewed the game on television from home. Even more amazingly is that back in the day, when there were only THREE NETWORKS, the game aired on TWO of them!
Where will you be watching the game?
As one of the original Super Bowl teams, Kansas City Chiefs has a chance to battle Los Angeles Rams, the inaugural Super Bowl’s host city’s team. In contrast, 1967 our present day version of the Super Bowl will air on only ONE NETWORK. While CBS is this year’s chosen network, the game’s popularity has prompted multiple media to stream the contest live. Subsequently, whether you are at home, work, or anywhere else on Super Bowl LIII, you will be able to enjoy the game along with an estimated 112 million other viewers! On the other hand, Sunday February 3, 2019 Atlanta, Georgia’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium will host the game to at least an expected 70,000 fans.
So no matter where you end up entertaining, kickoff your game day with a game plan that your guests will score highly! Will you want a buffet style spread? Are finger foods your preference? Even “tailgating ideas” have become very inventive, ranging from the typical to elaborate endeavors.
Easy host game plan
But, for me, I like simple and easy! That is to say, I want something I can prepare largely ahead of time and set out for all to enjoy. As a result, I am able to watch and join my guests with the game rather than trying to catch the replay of a great play!
So, we all want our top line up for our game table. You will be able to find a wide field of ideas to feed your guests with the best of the best snacks out there. While the most popular item for recent Super Bowl, chicken wings weren’t a game player for the first Super Bowl. But, why not look back at the beginning of the biggest game’s history itself for ideas?
Easily reach your first down with these 10 vintage food ideas!
Cold cut Loaf
Italian Meatball Grinders
Hot dogs/Pigs in Blankets
Grape jelly meatballs
Mac and cheese
Super Bowl Vintage Recipes
Game Table Winning Entrée Lineup
Game Scoring Cold Cut Stromboli/ serves 9 to 18
Certainly one of my favorites, this recipe is open for adaptation. That is to say, get creative with it! Your key players for this recipe can be found in your freezer section. Frozen ready to make bread loaves layout the field for your favorite fillings. For example, throw in your favorite deli meats or cheeses, or make a play with pizza influenced fillings, and it’s your decision to serve it hot or cold. As a result, you end up scoring touchdown for game day or an easy everyday dinner!
1 pkg of 3 Rhodes Frozen bread loafs
6×3 slices of Assortment of deli meats per loaf
6×3 slices Choices of sliced cheese per loaf
Sliced Roasted Red Peppers
Mustard or desired condiment
Spray counter lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Roll dough into a 12×15 inch rectangle. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest.
Remove wrap from dough and spread with mustard, avoiding 1-inch around all edges. Layer middle third of dough, vertically, with meat and cheese. Top with vegetable mixture. Fold one third of dough over fillings. Repeat with remaining side.
Place seam side down on a large sprayed baking sheet. Tuck ends under and cut some vents in the top using a sharp knife. Brush with egg and (optional) sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cover with sprayed plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes.
Remove wrap and bake at 350°F 25-30 minutes. NOTE: Servings will vary depending on stuffing choices and size of slices cut for serving.
Game Kicking Footlong Italian Meatball Grinders
Similarly, you maybe more familiar with its name as “sub” or “hoagie” because of your region. Here in New England, they are known as “grinders”! Unlike our previous form of game day sandwich, our grinders offer even more ease as hosts. For instance, picture a crockpot, frozen prepared meatballs, jarred tomato sauce, and bakery rolls. However, if you don’t mind putting in some time before the game, you can start off this way… <\p>
3 lbs Hamburg
1 1/2 lb Salt Pork
3 cups Bread crumbs
3 Tbs Grated Parmesan
3/4 tsp Salt
3/4 tsp Pepper
Form into about 50 meatballs by rolling out a scoop of meat mixture in your handS. Fry out (render) salt pork. Remove salt pork scraps. Place meatballs into pan, cooking until browned on all sides. When well cooked, add tomato sauce (recipe below), and simmer 2 1/2 hours.
3 sm cans Crushed Tomatoes
3 cans Tomato Paste
3 cups Water
3 cups Tomato Sauce
3 cloves Garlic
Salt and Pepper
Basil, Parsley, and Italian Seasonings
1 Whole diced onion
Cook until thick. Combine with meatballs to simmer. Subsequently, this is where you can convert over to a crockpot setting up your table.
Now if you want a kicking appetizer rather than running with meatball sandwiches, there’s a simple play in our playbook for that too! Instead of using a marinara style sauce, a retro recipe from the Sixties is always a good offence for great taste. This “Blast” play is so easy with big results!
Spicy Grape Jelly Meatballs
A game day advantage for any host! Using your top player in your kitchen, the crockpot, these spicy grape jelly meatballs only need 3 ingredients.
Meatballs (recipe above)
sm jar Grape Jelly
2 bottles Chili Sauce
If you need to switch it up a little, this is another versatile recipe. I use sliced Kielbasa, “Lil Smokey ” cocktail wieners, or even sliced hot dogs in place of the meatballs.
Pigs in Blankets
Icons to game day tables, pigs in blankets play big in the finger food category. Their ability to adjust to your guest list needs is a great ace in the hole. You can make regular sized hot dogs or substitute cocktail wieners for winning yields.
Tailgate Gameday Grilled Kabobs
If you are one of the thousands fortunate enough to go to the game, tailgating and grilling are certainly part of the experience. However, that does not mean for us at home we cannot serve up the same feel foods. Grilling and barbecuing became popular with 1960’s suburban families. Introduced during this time was the Shish Kebob. While fans of the first Super Bowls weren’t up to today’s tailgating standards, who’s to say grills weren’t geared up in backyards.
Chunks of chicken, beef, or shrimp
cut bell pepper
Soak wooden skewers in water at least 1 hour before using. Alternate meat chunks and veggie ingredients on skewers. Grill or for indoor option the oven will work.
Game Sideline Stars
Five Yard line Fruit Salad
Any referee won’t drop a flag with this dish. A side line sure to keep the play in motion is this fruit salad. Just huddle these ingredients together and its as easy as that!
1 cup Sour Cream
1 can Mandarine oranges (drained)
1 can Pineapple (drained)
1 cup Tiny Marshmallows
1 cup Coconut
few Maraschino Cherries
Another sideline favorite, Macaroni and Cheese completes the pass! Again, there is a shortcut available in your grocery aisle and that’s fine. However, I am going to give you a recipe for a homemade style.
1 lb box Elbow Macaroni
2 Tbs Flour
1 cup Cold Milk
2 Tbs Butter
2 Tbs Spicy Brown Mustard
1 tsp Nutmeg
2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Salt and Pepper
Start by cooking your macaroni and drain. Next, make your Rue. Melt butter in sauce pan and stir in the flour. Whisk until Rue becomes smooth and then add cold milk. Constantly stirring until boil and thickens. Add mustard, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to season. Stir in the cheese a little at a time until melted. Combine Cheese Sauce with cooked macaroni into a baking dish. Additionally, at this time you can add an assortment of crumble toppings you choose. Like bacon, crushed cheese crackers, crushed nacho cheese chips, or just buttered bread crumbs to bring a game changing bite!
Boston Baked Beans Blitz
A New England Game day star, even if the Patriots aren’t playing, Boston Baked Beans are sure to bring a smile to your guests’ face. However, my mother’s recipe most likely would not make you smile. It is very time consuming! But if you’re willing to go for it, you would score big for points.
1 bag dry Navy Beans
1/2 cup Molasses
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
12 oz. Salt Pork
5 cups Water
1 Lg. Onion
1 1/3 Tbs Dry Mustard
Salt and Pepper
After reading the traditional recipe process, you will understand why I call this Boston Baked Beans Blitz. Unlike, my mother’s time, I have the convenience of many acceptable canned beans at hand. By pairing my canned beans and some added coaching from her vintage ingredients, I am able to simplify it.
Of course the original recipe would bake in the oven for hours. To clarify, its six hours of cooking time. But preparation time is another thing that comes into play.
You see, you start out by having to pick over the bag of dry beans. There could be small stones or other foreign objects in the bag. Then you wash them in a colander. Because these are dry beans, you need to soak them overnight.
On the morning of game day, you place all but the beans and Salt Pork into a 6 qt. Dutch oven. Bring to boil dissolving the sugar. Sear your scored Salt Pork and place into your baking dish (An Aluminum Foil Pan, crockpot, Dutch oven, or beanpot). Add your beans and then pour your liquid over covering them at least 1/2 inch. If you need more liquid, add water. Bake 6 hours at 350 degrees.
No party, game day or any other get together isn’t complete without a version of deviled eggs. These are clubhouse seats worthy stuffed eggs!
12 hard boiled eggs
1 cup crabmeat
1 cup chopped celery
2 Tbs chopped green pepper
1 Tbs French Dressing
1/3 cup Sour Cream
Cut eggs in half. Mash yokes and mix in remaining ingredients. Spoon mixture into eggs. Chill.
Along side the eggs, a nice and simple salad of greens adds another element for your guests to choose.
To conclude our vintage style Super Bowl Game Day Table, there are several dessert items to finish your game plan. For example, hand held Whoopie pies, Magical Layer Bars, and Individual Pineapple Upside Down Cakes. I hope you enjoy the game and the food!
Is your team one of the best of the best this year? Do you have favored team, if your team didn’t make it this time? Even being from New England, the Patriots don’t need another win yet. So, I think I’m leaning toward Kansas City, myself, since our team Green Bay Packers didn’t make the cut. Good Luck!
Recognize the beauty of the ordinary because our momentous moments are in our extraordinary everyday <3 Share the Love <3
What is New England’s stake in its Sticky Staple The Fluffernutter Sandwich?
In a society engaging in substituting sugary substances, unhealthy fats, and bleached flours it is obvious why a beloved noontime favorite
is practically extinct. If you grew up in New England up until the 1990’s, you are familiar with the famous Fluffernutter Sandwich! Sitting here staring at my sandwich, fathoming its structure, it occurs to me that there is a solution to the question… “Is there a correct way to eat a Fluffernutter sandwich?” Of course, there is! Contemplating my course causes me to examine facts concerning my lunch.
Although, I can’t imagine a Baby Boomer who’s not at least tried a Fluffernutter, let’s look at it closer. If you do not already know, let me describe this controversial sandwich. A Fluffernutter, deemed the name during the 1960’s by the main ingredient manufacturer, is made up of simply peanut butter and Fluff. In an advertising campaign for their component of this sandwich trademarking their culinary creation, Durkee-Mower, Inc. of East Lynn, MA unknowingly initializes a regional icon! There is even a “National Fluffernutter Day” on October 8th each year!
How A Fluffernutter became a part of New England
They still produce the confection after almost 100 years. Fluffernutter components of Fluff and peanut butter are the quintessential combination of our era. Comparative to that of PB&J, or peanut butter and chocolate. We all know what came of the candy bar that fell into the peanut butter jar, right 😉 Okay, maybe some of you are too young to remember that series of commercials. So, just in case you don’t, I’m referring to Resee’s Peanut Butter cup commercials. https://youtu.be/NjFzvlSaGNk?t=5
Durkee-Mower’s instinctive business savvy recently settled a law suit instigated when William-Sonoma tried pairing the ingredients into a cookie of the same name. “The Fluffernutter” is a registered trademark. Now, Fluff is a state of marshmallows somewhere between a solid and a sticky liquid called a marshmallow cream.
How a Fluffernutter is Constructed
The creation of this sandwich requires two slices of white bread, yes, really, I said white bread! Particularly, Dreikorn’s or Sunbeam should be the brands of choice. Today, Dreikorn’s is defunct and White bread favorite growing up in New England exists only in vintage memorabilia and artifacts at the auction house. Then you spread a thin layer of peanut butter, any brand is fine but if you’re a New Englander, Teddie Bear Peanut Butter or Peter Pan is what you use.
Are you or your kids allergic to peanut butter? I’m
thinking of the amount of stock shares for peanut butter over the last fifteen years plummeting from the number of kids not able to eat the once pantry go-to item. Next, you apply an apt amount of Fluff. It is hard to mention any specific quantity because of it’s consistency, so use your best judgement. In my opinion, the more the merrier! Did your mom make you PB&J or Fluffernutters? Do you watch your sugar intake and carbs? My guilty conscience is eating at me with each glob of delectable fluff!
Is There a Special Formula to Eat a Fluffernutter
Do you know how to eat a Fluffernutter? You must wonder why I should ask such a question. How to eat a Fluffernutter? It’s a sandwich! You just bite it, right? Nope! As particular as its ingredients, so is the manner in which you eat a Fluffernutter sandwich. There is a method to my madness, believe me.
When you first pick up your sandwich, you need to pay attention to your grip. As you know, white bread is soft, keep in mind, so are the peanut butter and Fluff. This makes your Fluffernutter extremely squishy! Secondly, Fluff is a sticky substance. How sticky is it? Well, reminisce roasting marshmallows around the campfire. Can you picture it? There you are with a stick in hand, marshmallow on the end. You’re pulling the
marshmallow up, carefully capturing the gooey inside by the toasted top. Then, it happens… the toasted top pulls off and leaves the middle sticky, gooey, glob on the stick! Remember how sticky the glob is? Back to our sandwich! Soft, sticky, and squishy only begin the complexity of eating the Fluffernutter.
How to Hold a Fluffernutter
The way in which you hold your sandwich works hand in hand with taking the actual bites. You must achieve the adequate ratio of peanut butter to Fluff per bite. The importance of this step falls to the peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth versus the sweetness of the sugary Fluff.
Fulfilling a sweet tooth is a way of life in New England between our resources of maple syrup, molasses, and honey. However, there is such a thing as too much! To provide the necessary bite ratio of sweet versus sticky, you need to hold your Fluffernutter with the peanut butter layer side down. This way, you automatically bite enough Fluff to stop the bread and peanut butter from sticking to the roof of your mouth. Thus, at the same time, it coats the fluff with enough peanut butter cutting the sweetness!
That’s not the whole of it though! Now, we’ll discuss the direction your bite pattern. Ready? Your first bite should start at the top of the bread. Why? The upper crust of bread bakes faster than the bottom making it crustier and lighter. Therefore, the crust at the top of white bread is more fragile and doesn’t have the strength needed to support the weight of the Fluff. As you progress, the marshmallow cream squishes toward the middle and bottom of the bread. Ideally, the object here is to end with your last bite at the Fluffernutter’s bottom corner. This provides our solution to serving up a sticky New England staple with a proven course considering weight, squish ability, and optimal taste ratio right to the end of your sandwich!
Why Retro Childhood Eats are Meaningful
Every now and then, okay so more often than not, I fail to curb my desires. Yeah, not what you think! I’m talking taste buds and parts of the brain that produce euphoric feelings from food. One reason food serves as comfort comes from memories you associate with it. For example, the Fluffernutter is as popular in New England as its sister sandwich PB&J (peanut butter and jelly) sustaining kids lunches for years. Now, when a grown up eats a sampling of his childhood it naturally stimulates memories of a simpler and sweeter time in his life. Hmm, thus comfort food is formed!
Me eating a Fluffernutter depicts memories walking home from school to eat satisfying lunches with my mom, sweet summer days camping, and fulfilling road trips with no apparent destination except allowing my father to fish a roadside stream.
Other types of foods I hold dear to my heart, or rather should I say my mouth? Corn meal and flour dredged trout pan fried with a side of baked beans or sliced potato home fries. A camping supper favorite, if my father had a good catch that day! Hot dogs, baked beans, and brown bread every Saturday night and during the
summer added accompaniments of sliced beefsteak garden tomatoes and a spoonful of last season’s green tomato piccalilli. My mother’s beef stew brings warm memories each time I make a batch. Her Woolworth’s style Cheesecake recipe still :0 wows :0 most of us with its taste and nostalgia.
Share your favorite Fluffernutter story
A Gram Blog wants to know! What childhood foods walk you down memory lane? Is it TV Dinners in the foil trays? Mom’s meatloaf? Do you still make the foods that take you on this trip? Have you altered the recipes at all to accommodate a healthier, easier, or quicker version? Why is it one of your “comfort food” picks? Would you make a Fluffernutter sandwich for your grandchildren? Which ingredients could you use as substitutes to create a similar food and how would you name it?
Continue to follow upcoming posts for your answers! I for one am curious to see what you all share 😊 We will also be highlighting vintage recipes and why or why not they still appear on our tables. How to Make Grandmother’s Summer Recipes. Be sure to secure your personal copy of upcoming posts delivered directly by subscribing to A Gram Blog 😊
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<3 Beauty is the ordinary! Enjoy your momentous ordinary moments of the ordinary every day <3
Not too long ago, I answered a question asked on Quora. For those of you not familiar with Quora, it is a social network “where you gain and share knowledge hoping to promote people to learn from each other.” The subject of the question, “how do you deal with small town gossip?”, fell within my wheelhouse. My point of view about small town living shares with you a little insight I personally learned.
The idea of small town life appeals to me. Norman Rockwell is my favorite artist. He and his art represent the epitome of small town life. Even he realized that gossip happens in small towns. His print of “Gossip” shows the humorous side of it but realistic. There is a nostalgic touch to everything I do, including watching old movies and preferring small town than city life. However, there is a downside to living in a small community. Namely everyone knows you, even if they may not know your name.
Living in a town haunted by whispers of the past as well as its present for over eight years educated me on the subject of gossip. Today, Peyton Place is not as notorious a novel nowadays but back in the day, it certainly left its mark. Like myself, years earlier Grace Metalious resided in town with her husband. Grace Metalious published one of mid-century America’s most controversial NY Times Best Sellers in 1956. As most authors, she wrote from her surroundings, background, and imagination. The problem being her imagination was too close to reality.
She once stated “Even Tom Sawyer had a girlfriend, and to talk about adults without talking about their sex drives is like talking about a window without glass.”
The town of Peyton Place was a fictional collaboration of several New Hampshire towns: Gilmanton, the town where she lived with her husband (school principal). The town resented the insinuated notoriety causing gossip for years of its own. Laconia, and the neighboring towns of Alton and Belmont completed her backdrop. The village of Gilmanton Ironworks is where in December 1946, a daughter had murdered her sexually abusive father (upon who the book is partly based). The murder was investigated by the Sheriff of Belknap County, Homer Crockett, and members of the New Hampshire State Police.
Gossip, a rumor or report of an intimate nature, as defined by Merriam-Webster. Mainly the side effects of gossip can cause catastrophic and lasting scars. My children arrived in town as “flatlanders”, a term usually a label for Boston area commuters who invade the quiet hills and woods of New Hampshire towns. So, they didn’t quite fit into the clique of native townie children because they entered the K thru 8 grade school as
newcomers. They often received the butt end of criticism. Unfortunately, it traveled with them the entire time we lived there, except for my oldest. He actually assimilated into a well liked transplant to the town. Most often though you need to apply the old adage of “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me…”. If you don’t take things in stride, nothing but suffering becomes of it.
Small towns aren’t all gossip but I’m not going to lie, you may stumble across some whispers around town. Sometimes, a sense of humor is the best way to deal with so-called scandals sifting around town. In one case, the news of my pending separation from my husband offered a touch of irony during a rough patch of my marriage. The news of it happening actually got back to me before it officially happened. LOL! There are other things found in small towns that make living there worth the occasional whisper. News travels fast in small towns but keep in mind that it is not necessarily accurate!
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<3 Make the most of your ordinary everyday because you will find all your momentous ordinary moments in them <3
Learn how our grandmothers’ vintage recipes can utilize your end of summer garden like theirs. “Waste not want not”! One of my family favorite vintage recipes, Green Tomato Picalilli,
How to utilize your end of summer garden
Do you recall watching your grandmother can? For example, she may have canned green beans. Possibly, Gram may have made jellies. At any rate, my grandmother and yours knew how to use what they had on hand to the fullest. The end of the summer, especially here in New England, specifically put their know how to the test! Do you have a garden?
If you have tomato plants, you understand how quickly green tomatoes pile up as the season comes to a close. Of course, you don’t want to waste food! So, what to you do? Simply learn how our grandmothers’ vintage recipes can utilize your end of summer garden like theirs. “Waste not want not”! One of my family favorite vintage recipes, Green Tomato Picalilli, utilizes green tomatoes to the fullest. Once in canning jars the relish can be enjoyed year round. It also makes great gifts for the holiday season!
Grandmothers Vintage Garden Harvest Recipes
Celebrate end of summer with Green Tomato Picalilly Relish
“The sky is blue”, you say? She says, “The sky looks gray to me”. There is SOOO much negativity, stress, anxiety, depression, and more out in the world. Some people thrive on it, others cope with it, but not few laugh at it. “Your cup is empty”, one may say. Isn’t it better when he says, “My cup is still half full”? What makes one person look at the world with “rose colored glasses” while others paint a darker picture?
The topic of nature vs nurture has been a long-standing subject that to this day it’s answers are as controversial as creation vs evolution. While it is not my intention to solve one of humanity’s greatest questions, the goal is to reflect on pessimism as a personality trait. Is pessimism unhappiness? I want to inform you that an unhappy child is not always as obvious as it sounds. Also, it is important to realize negativity may signal subtle symptoms of something deeper. The only effective course to take you there is by my own family’s personal testimony as an example. In addition, I am including an interview with a child psychologist to answer the need for childhood mental health awareness.
Theoretically, the viewpoint of Nature takes a baby born under caring and uncomplicated birth surrounded by loving family, traditional or not, and tickled with attention during development reflects “happy”. This suggests that the child, if not “happy”, would have a preset personality programmed already. On the other hand, the same platform of Nature would take a baby’s development under opposite conditions including an isolated or abusive development and a result of “happy”, revealed as a predestined gene.
A nurture stand on these same control groups would create different results. For instance, the child with a caring and “nurturing” development derives a happy child while the other child takes from its environment what it is given. Realistically, it seems that the pessimistic outlook comes from a combination of both behavioral theories. “Cynic Sam” just may well have had a content childhood before life clobbered him. “Negative Nellie” could have come from a miserable neighborhood but later a small town changed her frown to a smile.
On an optimistic note… we have the power to direct our destinies. When you look in the mirror, is the realization a positive or negative one? I consider myself an easy-going person. Pretty much tend to go with the flow of things. Not to say, I don’t get upset blow a gasket now and then, but it usually takes quite a bit. Of course, I have sad days. I feel overwhelmed at times just like most. The reason I fall into the category of easy-going or “even-keeled” relies on my overall positive outlook. I know “tomorrow is another day”. Things just usually seem to work out given the time, work, and faith necessary to get through them.
Are Sour Grapes Just Sour Grapes?
But what if from day one happiness seems lacking from a child’s grasp? My granddaughter’s laughs and cries could be more mechanical or come with a greater amount of effort than one might expect. It is the same with hugs and closeness. When she is in the mood for contact, she will come to us with open arms or bless us with a peck on the cheek. Her overall outlook simply put is pessimistic, even in her younger years. At first, we accept her negative nelly personality. Then as time passes, the unhappiness grew along with her. Some traumatic blows in her twelve years only perpetuate the problems. Nature’s bump brings her born to a nineteen-year-old mother, my daughter, and a father who denies any responsibility as her start. Yet nurture tips the scale into a caring household full of extended family and her grandparents by her side to spoil her with attention and love.
Unfortunately, her next painful time spans over eight years. It starts when her mother meets a man that poses as a prospective partner in life. Instead, his petty crimes and substance abuse means recurring prison and jail sentences with brief stays pretending to be a family. Throughout this time, he successfully controls my daughter through abuse and threats to believe she needs to stay with him. This is the path leading to my present custody of the children beginning off and on shortly after he enters the picture eight years ago. Yes, I said children! Six months after she found herself pregnant, he went off to serve a prison sentence the first time not to return physically for two years. Environment poses to be the problem in this case.
During this time, we discover another weight burdening her shoulders. At age seven, she receives a diagnosis of Chronic Kidney Disease. A condition, we come to find out, she most likely acquires at birth. Already Stage III out of five for kidney function, her kidneys are severely damaged and deformed. The sweetheart of all who know her or even those who don’t because of her slight frame and blonde braided tails just as tall. Apparently, the small stature is a hidden sign, and not the result of a short mother’s genes as we suspect. Consistent attention with positive acceptance of her health throughout family and friends frame a network of support from day one can counteract nature’s strike.
The most recent life changes occur the past two years. First, we make the decision to move back up north. After ten years in Florida, all the signs point north to New England again. My granddaughter born in Florida concedes to her new surroundings with normal misgivings. Leaving the already known for the unknown is understandably scary for most. The acceptance still lies in doubt two years later. Bits and pieces of her previous life remaining in Florida divide her feelings for moving forward. She misses memories and sharing time with two uncles, an aunt, two cousins, and the family dog. Her environment provides both a positive and negative association. Positively excelling in New England academically, socially, and financially she continues receiving support, love, and nurturing.
A hard loss came in February with the passing of her great grandfather. Looking forward to his trips to Florida as a snowbird each year, he becomes a big part of her life. Sitting on his lanai eating strawberries and other snacks with him a favorite pastime of hers. Offering comfort and supportive understanding of her loss introduces her to the natural course of life. We explain we all will miss him and the need to express feelings doesn’t seem to diminish her sense of loss. In fact, she keeps a tally of losses or difficulties in her life instead.
Recently, my granddaughter’s therapist lent a book in which listed 7 ants as analogies for children’s behavior or attitudes. One is declared “the fortune telling ant”. They tend to convince themselves of defeat even before the event happens. For example, there is a picnic tomorrow to attend. “The fortune telling ant” tells themselves “what if it rains?”, “What if it is too hot?”, “What if it is too cold?” The ant may truly want to go, but, talks themselves out of it.
How Serious is Understanding Childhood Mental Health?
Did you know the number of children who are diagnosed with mental health conditions in the United States is on the climb? The statistics are staggering! If you are a parent of a child with the vastly varied degrees of these conditions, you know of the challenges, stigmas, and helplessness that comes with them. Awareness and education are the means to combat these obstacles our families and children face each extraordinary ordinary every day.
There are many people that simply scoff at the idea of childhood mental health. They believe it more as disciplinary neglect. Honestly, I am guilty of this theory myself! “Spare the rod, spoil the child”! I do not describe corporal punishment as discipline but by overlooking things. These things comprise of offences against manners and other basic behavioral guidelines. They are the building blocks of our own moral compass.
Learning the important lesson is the first step in understanding the need for childhood mental health awareness. It is only recent events within my 12-year-old granddaughter’s life have I realized my ignorance.
They say, “Hindsight is 20/20 vision.” When I look back at my children’s childhoods and development, I see with clarity symptoms signaling possible mental health conditions that went unchecked. Have you ever questioned if your child is happy? How many often do you wonder why he/she is so angry? Do you ask yourself what is wrong with this picture? The flag for me, especially the older my granddaughter became, is the lacking a sense of danger like I believe should exist. Mental Health awareness is important, yes. Childhood Mental Health Awareness is crucial!
When Does Your Child’s Behavior Become a Mental Health Condition?
As a mother knowing how to deal with disciplinary actions for my children seemed diluted and ineffective. Their father, however, only spoke sternly to evoke a response. They quickly modified their behavior, at least momentarily, under his rule. The dynamics in my family always revolved around power struggles, attention, and sibling rivalry on the surface. Deeper examination revealed much more!
Attitude and awareness amid childhood mental health may not have advanced any measurable amount over the last 25 years but the number of cases climb.
FIFTEEN SIGNS YOUR CHILD MAY HAVE A MENTAL HEALTH CONDITION
trouble making decisions
changes in sleep or eating
physical complaints i.e., stomach aches, sick
loss of interests, sadness
Until there is an unfortunate crisis to uncover your child’s mental state, the signs to watch are vague and individual as the individual themselves. Did any of the diagnosis’s offer solutions, relief, or change? When does a labeled diagnosis matter? How do you know if your child is happy and mentally healthy?
Here is a link by NIMH (the National Institute of Mental Health) to provide you with frequently asked questions…
The whole idea of mental health seems so subjective on an everyday level. Those of us over a certain age rarely heard of such conditions for children. As I mentioned before any parental inadequacy issues are questioned keep in mind certain signs to watch. Parents feel guilty enough under “normal” circumstances and question their ability to raise adjusted adults daily. “Spare the rod, spoil the child”, corporal punishment vs reward nurturing, neglect, or other items of parents which feed their guilt is not always the answer in diagnoses. After all, children do not come with instructions, as a rule. So, do you see the incredible difficulty diagnosing mental health in children? Even experiencing my children’s struggles, I am not sure I possess any extra insight to my granddaughter’s conditions.
What Are the Most Common Mental Health Conditions for Children?
Many of us have heard of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) because it is one of the most common conditions diagnosed. Honestly though, how many of you think of psychosis, bi polar, or schizophrenia when it comes to children? Do you recognize Oppositional Defiance Disorder or Conduct Disorder? Then Depression and Anxiety add to the list either alone or in combination with other conditions. Underlying diagnoses like substance abuse, hurting one’s self, and suicide complicate the clear-cut answers we desire.
Manifestations of these conditions may look like your child is lazy, unmotivated, or simply “behind” other children their age. In my granddaughter’s case, she showed developmental delays at an early age. She started talking late, her size was small for her age, and did not accept “No” for an answer. As a family, we know she progresses below the standard, but not expecting anything more than difficulty reading or math in school. However, much like her kidney disease we are blindsided by something right in front of our face! In treatment of her kidney issues, we learn her bladder is dysfunctional. Our specialist states her dysfunction usually associates with children under the umbrella of ADHD and Autistic Syndrome Spectrum. Eureka! “There is our SIGN”! It all fits, the puzzle pieces complete the picture.
As there is no end to this story, I want to leave you with two things. First, the interview with the child psychologist, Patricia Sivio Cole, Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist…
How important is understanding childhood mental health?
I think it is just as important to understand our children’s mental health as their physical health – they are quite related and affect each other.
Are you satisfied with the general publics’ awareness of their children’s emotional and behavioral needs?
I think the awareness is inconsistent. There are those who are hyperaware and worry about mental health issues in their children while they are still in diapers and others for whom emotional health is not at all on their radar. I believe a better understanding of mental health of our children can lead to happier families.
For example, parents will often complain about temper tantrums in young children and think their children are “bad” or “spoiled” when often those meltdowns are triggered by anxiety. If a parent recognizes that an unexpected change in plans – real or perceived – can surprise and confuse a child and without the verbal ability to express those emotions, they may meltdown, it is easier for them to anticipate that response and provide comfort and reassurance ahead of time and often ward off such a tantrum. That is just as important to be aware of as knowing that hunger, thirst, and fatigue can set a child off which helps a parent keep extra snacks and bottles of water on hand and stick to a nap and bedtime schedule as much as possible.
Is a growing trend of children diagnosed with conditions or do we just hear more about them because of media in today’s world?
I think the answer is a combination of both.
Adults have become more willing to recognize mental health issues of their own and to seek treatment. In doing so, many will look back on their own childhoods and recognize early signs of depression, anxiety, etc. and examine how adults responded to them. Many of the parents who bring their children in do so almost proactively – seeing signs in their children and wanting to help them before it becomes a big problem. It is a good thing that while there is still significant stigma associated with mental health treatment, it is less than in the past and more people are open to getting assistance.
Parents today are more likely than in generations past to be raising their children without the support of extended family as people have had to move for their careers. It can be harder to build a community around them that can provide respite and childcare to reduce the parents’ stress as well as provide advice.
Pediatricians today are working closer than ever with mental health workers and are much more likely than in the past to refer a child to get support early. Schools now provide some mental health services. A child who has a had a pleasant experience interacting with a school therapist is often more amenable to additional treatment when facing the demands of middle school later. The media has done a decent job trying to normalize interaction with the mental health system – although more needs to be done. It is not unusual for them to bring on mental health experts after an upsetting event or tragedy to help parents know how to talk with their children. They will often do stories about how to help children through a divorce, change of schools, relocation etc. Such exposure makes it easier for people to take advantage of support out there.
What do you think would be most helpful to address this subject?
In addition, people talking to each other and not being shy about saying they worked with someone when their own child was struggling will continue to encourage people to seek out services when they need it. The more we have those conversations and reduce stigma; the less kids will have to suffer.
How do you know if your child is happy?
Every child is different. It can be very difficult for an outgoing extrovert parent to feel their quiet introvert child is happy, but like adults, happy children can express it differently. Some happy kids love to be in the middle of everything and their shrieks of joy are easy to see. Others may feel most comfortable and happy when they are on the edge and watching the chaos, but safe from the unpredictability of it all. A happy child expresses joy and satisfaction regularly. They look forward to specific events, interactions, people. Happy children make positive connections to others – family, caretakers, teachers, peers. When they do get upset, they can be soothed and are able to let it go and move on without it coloring the rest of their day.
How do parents know when to seek assistance with their child?
Trust their gut instinct. If they are worried, seek a professional opinion. Many times, I am able to reassure a family – what you are describing is developmentally appropriate and not a concern. I can let them know when they might want to come in in the future. Good parents tend to worry and often helping them relax in turn helps the children. Pediatricians see the children over time and see a lot of them. If you have a concern, make an appointment first with them. Teachers are a reliable source of information of how your child is doing outside of your view.
Are there symptoms we should watch for warning signs?
Changes can be important: A child who used to be happy go lucky, but now gets upset over almost nothing;. A child who used to interact regularly with peers but is now mostly withdrawn and isolated; A child whose worries or fears are getting in the way of them participating in activities; A child who has outbursts of anger that seem difficult to control and interferes in their relationships.
What are some of the more common conditions that we may be aware of for children?
As with adults, anxiety is one of the most common things that affect children. There can be a biological predisposition as well as learned behaviors. Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder can not only interfere with learning in school, but in severe cases can isolate a child socially and exacerbate anxiety and depression when not addressed. Over time, we are paying better attention to children who fall on the Autism Spectrum and getting them support they need in and out of school to flourish. Finally, any child going through a major change such as a death in the family, divorce, relocation, a deployment etc. may experience an adjustment disorder.
WHO DOES A PARENT TURN TO? Where does a parent get help?
Start with your pediatrician and/or your school. Most keep a list of local clinicians they have collaborated with over the years. Insurance companies can also be helpful in finding someone to work with. There are child guidance clinics in many areas as well as clinics affiliated with local hospitals. In an emergency, parents can call 211 and ask for emergency mobile psychiatric services for children. A clinician can talk you through the crisis or send someone to your home.
Thank you, Miss Patty, for participating in my interview! Now, I said “I wanted to leave you with two things”. Secondly, I want to remind you… <3 Share the Love<3 <3 Beauty is in the ordinary; Your everyday is extraordinary with momentous ordinary moments <3
What is a Community? By definition the Merrimack-Webster Dictionary claims it is “a unified body of individuals: such as a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society.” In other words, a community could be a neighborhood. A neighborhood perhaps consists of social groups that share these common interests. A group may take shape as a circle forming a tight unified effort to reach a goal.
So, our first component of a community is obviously a group of people. When writing a blog, you start out by moving into a distinct neighborhood called a niche. Your articles, posts, pictures and all the behind the scenes fonts, tags, and categories address your community. How do you find this niche? When looking for a house in a certain neighborhood, you would call a realtor. But when looking for your niche, you call on yourself. Introspective questions and examination is your best bet brainstorming possible ideas and narrowing them down by your highest interests and knowledge base.
I just moved into a new home the weekend of last Christmas. Although the past two years I previously lived in the same town but in an apartment, it wasn’t until I started to settle into the house I truly felt part of the town. How do you become part of your neighborhood? What is it in your community you share with others? Do you enjoy the arts and cultural aspects of your community? Is it recreation and entertainment that attracts you? Or does it come down to the people who share the space with you? These are the kind of questions you should ask yourself.
A community is comprised of common interests. Are your interests the same as your niche? That is the number one question! As a blogger you hope and work hard searching for the interests you share with your audience. My audience target are grandmothers, housewives, mothers, and maybe a percentage of baby boomers. Thinking to myself, “what kind of interests do these type of populations share?” It occurs to me family, cooking/food, struggles, antiques, grandchildren, relationships, and reminiscing the past open up a great deal of topics. I realize though that much of these topics are common and rather ordinary. That is why I embrace it! “Come in and enjoy the beauty of the ordinary because momentous moments are found in our ordinary everyday! <3
A Gram Blog is my site. I picture it as a neighborhood with my “home” center stage. It is comprised of spaces described to produce an illusion of different rooms. “Kitchen” is where I keep recipes, cooking tips, and the world of food. “The Family Room” holds movie, tv, and other reviews pertaining to entertainment. “My Home Office” files posts such as this one related to blogging or my direct sales business. I know one of the predominate things I recall about my grandmother is her home. The rooms, the wallpaper, the furnishings, and everything about it right down to the aromas associated with it continue to comfort me. That is what I wish to pass on to my audience.
How else do you build your blog traffic up? The same way you befriend your neighbors. You visit people. You join in social groups. You invite your neighbors to come over. Getting involved in community events and organizations opens up a different way to meet others. My website is about 5 months old now. Consistency is an important factor that I have not yet been able to master. After missing a number of gatherings did you lose contact with that group? Admittingly, my traffic is less than favorable. You need to keep putting yourself out there. I use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter as my welcome mats to the world. Have you started your blog yet? Which social media do you use most? Did you have a hard time building up traffic?
While you want to watch your posts go viral, integrity plays an important part in blogging. You must maintain an honest profile of yourself. The strength of a blogger comes with their creditability. Profess who you are! What makes you able to write what you write about? My background as a wife for 36 years, mother of four, grandmother of five, and a reasonably educated individual accounts for a bulk of my writing. A writer fictional or otherwise derives material from real life. A blogger is a writer! Be honest with yourself and your audience in your writing. You are not writing to blow your ego up! Remember offering things like comfort, ideas, support, and insight bring people together. Who likes the big mouth neighbor always boasting about themselves? Don’t you like leaving a wedding or a party with something in hand? Think of different types of “party favors” for your audience.
Society splits us up into many styles of groups. There are religious groups, gender groups, age groups, political groups, and the list goes on! What makes a group into a community and a community into a circle? Below you see my interpretation what characteristics are comprised in a community.
Most Common Components of a Community
Group of people
The major distinction between a community and a circle is a common goal. “A circle of friends”. “A quilting circle”. “A beginning bloggers’ circle”! Each circle encompasses a common goal to reach through the interests of its community. A circle of friends goal is to maintain a close relationship. A quilting circle’s goal comes upon the completion of squares patterns pieced together by several individuals into one prized possession. It is the goal of “A Beginning Bloggers’ Circle” to bare the burdens blogging brings us provides information of behind the scenes. The purpose to share your strengths serves to teach others. Necessary in any community is caring! My hope is to come together with other beginning bloggers who care to be part of a circle!
As families face vacation fun and fanciful thoughts of summer, it is okay to realize the darker side of the season. Stay at home caregivers and working parents alike feel stressed keeping their children happy and safe over the next few months! Expressyour Emotions Even Mixed Ones 🤪
The hard metal rock song “School’s Out for Summer” screams the pent up dreams of anarchy and chaos. An anthem representing the promised land freeing children to do what they want occupies radio airwaves every summer these past couple decades. Check your speaker settings and click the YouTube link to Alice Cooper’s official video https://youtu.be/j8A9zFAArJQ
Isn’t it ironic one of the most iconic songs for summer comes from Alice Cooper expressing his feelings on the absence of school? When in contrast it says “We got no class, we got no principals, we got no innocence … ” actually demonstrates what would happen without it! Forecast of children’s pangs from boredom and “I’m Hungry” haunt many mothers or grandmothers thoughts. What about the Parents’ feelings?
Are you happy school is out for summer? Admittingly, I have mixed emotions. Honestly, it is scary losing any control over the kids time management! When do you start planning for summer?This year comes upon me faster than I planned.Which means there is NO PLAN! However,those of you who did, you may have included these things to do.