a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Friday, January 31, 2014

When The Best Help is NO HELP

For quite a while I have been giving serious thought to presenting, on my blog, the information from a small book my husband wrote because, in spite of all of our best efforts and prayers, things don’t always go the way we would have hoped.  I would continue my regular posts on Fridays and add another day for this. Today I told Dave what I had in mind. 

Was it a coincidence that he was sitting at that very moment at his computer  (which is right next to my computer) reading a newspaper column by Carmen Rasmusen Herbert entitled “Don't worry; be a happy parent.” ? 


We don’t believe in coincidence.

Carmen worries about being a good parent and she gives some of her concerns and conclusions. She also quotes from others. I’ll list a few highlights. Hopefully your interest will be piqued enough to check out her article and get “the rest of the story.”

I will print Carmen’s words in red and the others she quotes  in different colors. 

As I’ve sat and thought (and worried) about who and what is influencing my boys, I came across an interesting article from Forbes titled “7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors that Keep Children from Growing into Leaders.”

According to Forbes contributor Kathy Caprino, one of the behaviors to watch out for is "rescu(ing) too quickly."

Another hindering behavior, according to Caprino, is that "we rave too easily."

I heard this before I had kids and thought it was ridiculous. How is it possible to praise a child too much?

In his recent acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, actor Matthew McConaughey said his mother strongly encouraged adventure and hard work.

“If it was daylight, you had to be outside playing, and we’d go, ‘Why, mom?’ and she’d say, ‘Don’t watch somebody on TV do it for you, go out and do it for yourself.’ ” Because of her encouragement and support, McConaughey’s mother was a positive influence in her son’s life.

“Because we’re not the only influence on our kids, we must be the best influence,” Caprino writes.

The best influence. That's a lot of responsibility.

Dr. Tim Elmore, author of “Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future,” “Artificial Maturity: Helping Kids Meet the Challenges of Becoming Authentic Adults” and “Habitudes,” shares:

“It’s important for parents to become exceedingly self-aware of their words and actions when interacting with their children, or with others when their children are nearby. Care enough to train them, not merely treat them to a good life. Coach them, more than coddle."

Part of taking the worrying out of living is the knowledge that you’re continually striving to do your best and teach correct principles by training and coaching and then allowing your kids to fall, fail and find themselves. That, I think, is the toughest, most crucial part.

Carmen’s  article was the answer and perfect introduction to what I have felt the need to do. 

This small booklet evolved from a talk Dave gave in Church in November 2006. It was not a traditional talk but apparently helped a lot of people realize they were “not alone.”

Two months later we printed six copies of the talk.  Those initial copies developed into this booklet. It has been printed in small quantities (10-25) at a time, as requested, through only word of mouth “advertising.”  We quit keeping track of the numbers in December 2010 after we passed the 500 mark, but now print 50 at a time.

We are saddened that such a need exists, but hopeful that it may be of some value in helping you through your trying times.  We are very thankful for our son who was willing to let Dave tell the story, and then, it’s transformation into a book. He has even passed them out to others from the very beginning. We appreciate his willingness to do this and are proud of the decisions he is finally making. 

“The Best Help is NO HELP” contains hard answers to hard questions about helping an addicted child or loved one. 

I will begin posting from this book on Wednesdays, beginning  February 5th,

Simple and Scrumptous Meringue Cookies

Dave's Mom Jennie was famous  for her "white cookies" ---- not only among family members, but in her neighborhood. They were also a frequently sought after confection for the wedding receptions of friends' children.

It amazes me how I could have, over the years, forgotten something so yummy and so simple. I remembered them this past week when we were attending a get-together where some of the attendees were on gluten-free diets.  They were a hit!!!!

Puffs of chip-filled meringues are heavenly

Along with my three- ingredient peanut butter quickies,  they top the charts for ease.

The ingredients: 
3 egg whites, 3/4 cup white sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and one heaping cup chocolate chips. 

The directions: Turn the oven on to 350 degrees. Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, about one-third at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. 

Fold in the vanilla and chocolate chips. Drop by  teaspoon "fulls" onto prepared pan.  They do not spread so you can space them close together. 

Turn Oven OFF. and immediately place cookie sheet on the middle rack of oven.  Leave them (without opening the oven door) for at least 45 minutes. They should be dry to the touch (unless you live where it is humid -- they will be chewy rather than "crunchy" but still good). 

Let cool completely before removing from pan.  Makes about 36.

Just because I thought it was simple enough that even I could do it, I figured out the calorie count.  If I am correct it is 17-1/2 calories per cookie. That makes them even better!

Hints and Helps:
This was the first time I have made them with a stand mixer.  I couldn't imagine a 6-quart bowl would do anything with only 3 egg whites but boy, was I wrong! The whisk whipped them up in no time and then on low, folded in the flavoring and chips!  It was a breeze. 

Make sure your utensils are completely free from any grease or oil residue because even a teeny bit will keep the whites from peaking.

The same is true if even a teeny bit of egg yolk is in with the whites.*

You can vary the flavorings and flavors of chips.  We also love orange and mint.  Other ingredients can be added if desired.  Tinting the beaten whites with a couple of drops of  regular food coloring is also great. It is fun to experiment.

* I was sure I shared this trick on my blog before but I couldn't locate it so I went Google-searching again.  There are several sites explaining/demonstrating this method but this is the first one I came across.  It is worth watching. Even though most of us won't understand a word she is saying, the video "says" it all. I, along with several others now have a designated "squeezable" egg separator bottle.


'til we eat again,
      I am Simply, Gail

P.S. The 3-ingredient peanut butter quickie cookie is listed in the cookbook on the right side of the blog, under what else . . . cookie: peanut butter quickie