Thursday, January 29, 2009

Something Funny

As you know, very rarely do I share email forwards, they have to be very funny in order for me to press send. Well, last night our great friend, Mark, sent something that gave me a chuckle. I shared it with my mum (who, by the way, has a great sense of humor) and she laughed and laughed. After hearing her enjoyment I thought it must be one of those forwards that need to be shared.

I hope it will ignite something within you that will allow yourself a chuckle or a full-blown laugh today. Remember, laughter is good for the soul.

It’s simple, silly and strangely something we can (maybe) relate to….

Here you go:

Husband says, “When I get mad at you, you never fight back. How do you control your anger?” With a smile, the wife replies by saying, “I clean the toilet.” The husband looks at her strangely and says, “How does that help?” With the same smile on her face the wife says, “I use your toothbrush.”

I hope you enjoyed that as much as we did. So glad there are clever people out there who come up with stuff like this that can make us smile. 

Remember, smiles are free so give them away!

Susan J Sohn

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Grab & Go Box

Like most of you, we have a very busy household. With three children school schedules, after school activities (swimming, dance, soccer, basketball and music lessons, etc.). I must note that schedules do vary during throughout the year, we aren't the hyper schedule family. However in saying that, life is and remains busy.

I have found that being on the run, especially after school, when the children are hungry can be a challenge. Because of this I have created 'The Grab & Go Box'. This box sits in the pantry (in a place where the children can reach) and it is full of quick, healthy snacks that the children (and I if need be) can grab whilst on the move. In addition, I always have fruit washed and at the ready in the fridge. I chop up seasonal fruits and put them in tupperware containers in perfect bite size pieces and keep apples and other fruits washed and ready to go. I find this a great time saver and something that allows me piece of mind, knowing that they aren't filling their tummies with empty calories that do nothing for them.

'The Grab & Go Box' Contents:
  • Granola Bars
  • Individual unsweetened Apple Sauce/Blueberry Sauce
  • Rice Cakes
  • Popcorn
  • Dried Apricots and Dates
  • Fruit Source Bars
  • Bran Bars (remember, fibre is your friend even for our children)
  • Homemade muffins (on occasion)

I'm not sure what you have organized in your home for the afternoon rush. If your find this a challenging time then please take the 'Grab & Go Box' idea and make it your own. Create something that your family will enjoy whilst staying healthy. Also, remember this box is good for any age, just tailor it to your families needs.



Monday, January 26, 2009

All in a Days Journey

Hey all I did it.... I made 'Beer Can Chicken' and it was GREAT. I have pictures and everything so stay tuned, will get them up (hopefully) tomorrow.

Have to run today, no time to post anything life changing :)). The time has come to pick up kids from school, drive some to swimming, some to dance, pick up milk, pick up from swimming and dance, come home get dinner for everyone, supervise the homework routine, do dishes, get everyone ready for bed and then (finally) race across the city to my cousins for a party she's hosting. And this is all after taking my youngest to dance this afternoon, doing 5 loads of laundry (folding and putting away.....most of it anyway), reading snow white and the seven dwarfs, writing an article and figuring out website stuff and twitter.

Gotta love being a mum on the move. More tomorrow, I know Annie has a great post that should go up later today or tomorrow. Stay tuned friends.

Susan xo

Thursday, January 22, 2009

For The Men in Our World!

I am continually amazed at the dynamics of family and more specifically the differences between mum and dad. One thing I’ve noticed, in our family, is that I am the more cautious one when it comes to stretching physical boundaries. For example, whilst living in Australia, our children were learning to surf. Having grown up in Saskatchewan and spent time at our picturesque lakes, the only waves I was really comfortable with, were those from the odd speedboat passing by the shore! Needless to say, this Prairie girl quickly discovered that the waves of the ocean differ greatly to our lakes.

Whilst my husband was in the water teaching my children the ways of the ocean, I was always close by. You could always find me on the shoreline yelling, “be careful, hold onto them, don’t go out so far, watch those rocks (in the far distance), etc., etc., etc.” My children laughed at my concern knowing that they were safe with dad. They jumped, dunked, spit and spurt their way through surfing (something I would have never attempted with them). Besides my obvious nervousness I should have never watched the movie Jaws…. need I say more! I must add that I do love a relaxing day by the ocean and I miss our lazy days at our favourite Sydney beach especially when it’s -30 ☺!

Another example of my husband stretching boundaries is with skiing. All of our children started skiing at the tender age of three. I love the way he encourages them and challenges them to push on. I too take part in this but my mother’s heart softens when they feel the cold or have a fall. Philip, on the other hand, explains to them that skiing is a winter sport and winter equals cold. He tells them that if they want to ski then complaining about the cold isn’t an option. He also helps them up from a fall, dusts them off and keeps them going. Through this tender instruction all three of our children can now ski and we enjoy great family holidays on the slopes.

There are of course countless other examples I could share that would give expression to the necessity of fathers. Sadly I believe we are living in a ‘fatherless’ generation. We see the likes of ‘The Wiggles’ and countless other male figures catapulted to star status simply because our children need and crave strong male role models in their lives. I love that my husband is teaching my son how to be a man, a husband a provider and a carer. Equally he is teaching my daughters how to be loved by a man through gentleness, kindness and so much more.

The other day our seven-year-old son had a mid-term spelling test. He had prepared well. However, as we left for school his father wished him good luck and said, “Go for it buddy, you can do it!” That afternoon I picked him and his sister up from school, we asked how his big test went and with a huge toothy grin he exclaimed, “I got 100%”. My eldest encouraged him, by telling him he did well because he was well prepared. To our surprise he disagreed and said, “I got 100% because my dad wished me good luck”! I smiled knowingly.

Upon arriving home, my son could hardly get his seatbelt off quick enough. He burst through the doors, ran through the house, found his dad and said, “Dad I got 100% in my spelling test today. I got it because you wished me good luck. Thanks dad. I love you”. I could see my husband’s heart expanding, once again realising how important his input into this little life is. It was a good day.

I share this today hoping that men will continue to influence and impact the young ones with confidence. Whether you are father, grandfather or friend; someone is looking to you. Understand who you are in these little lives and I always say, ‘TO THE WORLD YOU MAY ONLY BE SOMEONE BUT TO THE SOMEONE YOU MAY BE THE WORLD’!

Susan J Sohn

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Beer Can Chicken

Every once in a while I come across a recipe that receives extraordinary applause. This Beer Can Chicken is one of those such recipes.

The other day I was at swimming and was chatting with my new friend, Lindsay. Our conversation moved, like any mum-to-mum Tuesday morning conversation, towards dinner and what was on offer in our homes that night. Lindsay told me, with great excitement that they were having 'Beer Can Chicken'. I told her I had heard about it a few times but had never made it. She shared about how much her children loved it, how easy it was and how she realised how stupid it actually sounded but couldn't deny the rave reviews.

After a little thought I have decided to share the recipe with you ~ even tho I or the familyroom girls haven't tried it. I trust my new friends tastebuds and couldn't resist her enthusiasim for the dish. I have decided that our family will sample this interesting dish on the weekend and I will give my full report after digesting. In the meantime however, if you have tried this, please share. Or, if you brave it before our weekend arrives please share with us.

I can't wait to get cooking.

PS- this recipe is for the bbq so my Aussie friends please enjoy. I will be scouring the internet for an oven version for those of us in the frozen north :)). Also, I hope you enjoy my friends humor found in the details of the recipe.


Beer Can Chicken
Mix the following ingredients together;
  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • 4 tbsp. black pepper

  • Open two cans of beer.
  • Drink 1/3 of each can (maybe that is why the chicken tastes so good!!!)
  • Put 1 tbsp. of the mixture in each beer can.
  • Wash 2 chickens.
  • Gingerly place washed chicken on beer can!!! (you can buy a gizmo that makes the chicken on the beer can more stable. We don't, just beer cans and chicken for us)
  • Using all of the mixture, coat the outside of the chicken. Be sure to put lots on the wings and drumsticks. It looks like a lot, but just keep on going!
  • Heat up the bbq using both sides. Turn one side off and put the chickens on the 'off' side. Keep the other side going and let these babies roast.

Enjoy.....It's really good! Serve with a crunchy salad, bread rolls and it's dinner or a nice weekend lunch.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Marley & Me

Okay friends if you haven't seen this movie yet then please DO! It's amazing. This story touches on all aspects of life, work, love, play, family, stress, frustration, joy and so much more.

I went to the movie this weekend with my 10 year old daughter and we both laughed and, actually we bawled our eyes out as did everyone else in the cinema. Don't worry, you don't come out feeling all blah and gloomy rather you feel like you've gone through an emotional car wash and you come out ready to face life ~ head on!!

For those of you who are just starting your family and you find yourself in the trenches, suffering from sleep depravation, feeding schedules and spit up patrol and at times you truly can't see your way out.....this movie is for you. Jennifer Aniston does a wonderful job of losing the plot and then finding the strength to carry on. She truly makes all of us feel normal. Trust me, you will see yourself through her at some point.

For those of us who are reaching 40, who have already reached that milestone and are well into our 40's this is also for you. The hubby's journey is extremely interesting and we can all learn from his story. Together this couple, through the telling of their story help make sense and bring perspective into the everydayness of life and into yesterday, today and tomorrow. Trust me, you will enjoy this flick.

I won't give anything else away, just know that it is definitely WORTH SEEING.

I can't wait to hear what you think.


Friday, January 16, 2009

The Taste of Health

Last night after dinner I found myself thinking about the day ahead and one more packed school lunch. Those of you who read the blog regularly know that I am passionate about feeding our children well, even when it’s a bagged lunch (see School Lunches in the Archives).

I pulled out my recipe book and flipped through the pages until I landed on an old favourite. The recipe I’m referring to is ‘Six Week Refrigerator Bran Muffins’. You must understand I am someone who really knows the need for fibre in our system, not only what we get through our everyday meals but an extra dose. According to Dr. Oz (most of you are familiar with him) there are three things we are all lacking. Those three things are: Fibre, Water, and Vitamin D. We all need to adopt the thinking fibre is our friend and not only when we hit 40+ it must be our children’s friend.

I realise bran muffins may not sound that exciting but this recipe (albeit slightly adapted by me) is absolutely yum and full of goodness for the family. Give it a go and let me know what you think.

Six-Week Refrigerator Bran Muffins
Preheat Oven: 400
Cooking Time: 18-20 mins
Pan Size: Muffin Tins
Yields: 5-6 dozen

2 Cups Boiling Water
2 Cups Natural Bran
1 Cup unsweetened applesauce - the recipe actually calls for 1 cup of shortening however I changed this to 1 cup unsweetened applesauce making the recipe much healthier and tastier.
2 ½ Cups White Sugar – I’m going to pull this back to 1 ¾ and I may even change to using splenda
4 Beaten Eggs
4 Cups Low Fat Milk (calls for buttermilk but I choose low fat or skim)
5 Cups Flour (I use whole wheat flour but you can use white)
3 Tbsp Baking Soda
1 Tbsp Salt
4 Cups Bran Cereal (no sugar added)
1 Cup Raisins

Pour boiling water over bran and let stand.
Mix applesauce (or shortening), sugar and eggs.
Add milk to mixture.
Add the bran and water mixture.
Sift the flour, salt and soda into the mixture and mix in.
Fold in bran flakes and raisins until bran flakes are just moist.
Chill 12 hours in fridge before baking
Batter will keep up to 6 weeks in refrigerator.
Bake in greased muffin tins, a dozen at a time or all at once.

Because I used the applesauce the recipe won’t last as long in the refrigerator. I baked a dozen this morning and will bake the rest this afternoon or tomorrow and freeze them. I use three tin types - tiny muffins, medium size and the oversized large muffins. I do this so I have bite size for my little one, which is a great ‘grab and go’ snacks for the older ones. The medium serves well in lunches accompanying a sandwich, fruit, veggies and a piece of cheese. The oversized can replace a sandwich and can serve for a quick lunch for myself when I’m on the run.

Also, next time I will add flax or perhaps wheat germ or something else that is good for our systems.

Enjoy friends.
Susan J Sohn

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Strength of $1.49

Have you ever found yourself racking your brain for the perfect gift for one of your children or perhaps grandchildren? Have you, at one time or another, found yourself being influenced by senseless advertisers screaming their message in your direction? And then somehow you allow their message of ‘buy now’ to make you feel like less of a parent if you don’t get little Johnny or little Sarah the gift of the season or the latest and greatest ‘in thing’.

Through the Christmas season, I saw many parents spending, charging and fighting over the last Princess Barbie on the shelf or the coveted Mario Kart Wii game. We too bought our children gifts for the season but we made a decision that we were not going overboard.

As Christmas day approached and the excitement in the house grew with the impending arrival of Santa Claus, my youngest found herself drawn to the tree. She simply couldn’t resist the shiny paper, the well-wrapped gifts shouting ‘tear me open’. She joyfully shook every gift and tried her hardest to peek, without tearing the paper, and thankfully was successful a few times. She counted the days, checked the fireplace to make sure Santa’s landing place was acceptable and then joined the rest of us and waited.

Finally, the morning arrived and it was time to find out what was hidden beneath the beautifully designed paper. Our designated Santa handed out each gift with a HO, HO, HO. The excitement in the room could have been bottled and sold for a hefty price. My youngest ripped and tore and unwrapped like a wild woman, she squealed with delight when she saw the doll, ‘Darla’, that she had been hoping and praying for. A few new Barbies added to her collection also caused her to jump for joy. In that moment, and in the following moments watching our older two children, every line-up I had stood in, every wintery road I had driven on, every hour of wrapping felt so good and was worth it.

Finally, a few last little gifts were distributed. My youngest, who is 3.5 years old and in her words ‘loves to do homework’, could hardly contain herself. She opened this flimsy gift and much to her absolute surprise and overwhelming pleasure it contained a pack of four Hilroy scribblers that cost a total of $1.49. She stood in the middle of the room, surrounded by her new doll, by her latest Barbies, some candies and a few other gifts and exclaimed for everyone to hear, “This is the bestest present I ever gotted.”

I share this with you to help take the pressure off. We are so conditioned, for a number of reasons, to think that our children need the latest and greatest in every area of life. The pressure can be overwhelming and crippling. Through this little story and the words of a 3.5-year-old, I encourage you to be creative and know that your children, like mine, will not suffer, nor will they be forever damaged if they don’t have exactly what they want, when they want it. Sometimes the greatest gifts cost the least.

Use kind words, your arms of love and hearts of compassion and see your family go from strength to strength.

Enjoy the journey.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Forrest Goes to Heaven

Hello all. I hope today is a good day for everyone.

I woke this morning to find a forward from my mum and after reading it I knew I had to forward it and share it with as many as possible. This forward comes from a Forrest Gump story. Like many of you I have learned a great deal from Forrest Gump and that movie seems to have lived on for many of us.

I hope you too will find a smile on your face after reading this little treasure.

Forrest Goes to Heaven

The day finally arrived. Forrest Gump dies and goes to Heaven.

He is at the Pearly Gates, met by St. Peter himself. However, the gates are closed, and Forrest approaches the gatekeeper. St. Peter said, 'Well, Forrest, it is certainly good to see you. We have heard a lot about you. I must tell you, though, that the place is filling up fast, and we have been administering an entrance examination for everyone. The test is short, but you have to pass it before you can get into Heaven.' Forrest responds, 'It sure is good to be here, St. Peter, sir. But nobody ever told me about any entrance exam. I sure hope that the test ain't too hard. Life was a big enough test as it was.' St. Peter continued, 'Yes, I know Forrest, but the test is only three questions.

First: What two days of the week begin with the letter T?
Second: How many seconds are there in a year?
Third: What is God's first name?'

Forrest leaves to think the questions over. He returns the next day and sees St. Peter, who waves him up, and says, 'Now that you have had a chance to think the questions over, give me your answers' Forrest replied, 'Well, the first one -- which two days in the week begins with the letter 'T'? Shucks, that one is easy. That would be Today and Tomorrow.' The Saint's eyes opened wide and he exclaimed, 'Forrest, that is not what I was thinking, but you do have a point, and I guess I did not specify, so I will give you credit for that answer. How about the next one?' asked St. Peter..'How many seconds in a year? Now that one is harder,' replied Forrest, but I thunk and thunk about that, and I guess the only answer can be twelve.' Astounded, St. Peter said, 'Twelve Forrest, how in Heaven's name could you come up with twelve seconds in a year?' Forrest replied, 'Shucks, there's got to be twelve: January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd... ''Hold it,' interrupts St. Peter. 'I see where you are going with this, and I see your point, though that was not quite what I had in mind....but I will have to give you credit for that one, too. Let us go on with the third and final question. Can you tell me God's first name'? 'Sure,' Forrest replied, 'it's Andy.''Andy?' exclaimed an exasperated and frustrated St Peter. 'Ok, I can understand how you came up with your answers to my first two questions, but just how in the world did you come up with the name Andy as the first name of God?' Shucks, that was the easiest one of all,' Forrest replied. 'I learnt it from the song,


St. Peter opened the Pearly Gates, and said: 'Run Forrest, run.'

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A cup of warm milk

The holidays are now over for the Sohn family. The tree has been taken down, Kenny and Dolly have belted out their last tune for the season, the egg nog is well finished and the Christmas cake has been reduced to crumbs as we fight over the last tasty morsels.

Tomorrow, routine returns to our home as I'm sure it has to many of yours. In our family, it'll mean no more jammy-clad, lazy mornings, breakfasts that become brunch – and then lunch, endless snacking and guests with more goodies to share. Rather, it's back to the early morning breakfasts and the tying of school neckties before scooting out the door with lunches packed, hair combed and teeth brushed (I hope) in an effort to reach school before the bell rings.

It's pretty tough when the children have become used to a later bedtime, enjoying the relaxed nature where tomorrow and the next day are just another holiday.

My eldest had the hardest time tonight. She tossed and turned and tried her best at counting sheep, and then some.

After two hours of failed attempts to capture that elusive rest, frustration found its way into her room, at which point, she found her way into mine!

Like many of you, I have struggled on the odd occasion with insomnia. This was one of those times. Funny thing, normally I can fall asleep anywhere, as can my eldest. But tonight wasn't our night.

So I hatched a plan. I took my beautiful girl by the hand and said, "Don't worry, Lovely, I know just the thing to help you."

I brought her to the couch just off our kitchen, wrapped her in a blanket and prepared a cup of warm milk for her to sip on. I handed her the mug and slipped onto the couch beside her, allowing her to rest and relax into my arms. I sat stroking her hair and whispering 'I love you' into her ear. We didn't exchange many words, just a few from me to her in order to comfort her and let her know everything was okay.

I've always understood the mystery behind the cup of warm milk and its obvious effects on the human body. But now I've completed an even greater puzzle – a cup of warm milk provided by the comforting arms of a loved one, the stroking of hair and the applying of soft gentle words whispered into an ear, is the perfect panacea for the sleep-deprived. In no time, my eldest daughter was tucked up in her bed, dreaming of angels.

As we begin this year with our resolutions and our hearts filled with renewed hope, may I encourage you to keep your ears and eyes open, and know that somewhere along the path of 2009 someone in your home will need a cup of warm milk. Don't miss the moment.


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