It’s the Absolute Ultimate!! #1

Every weekend I plan to post a simple (& possibly silly) “tip, trick or tool”  here on Gidget Goes Home! Maybe you already know about these things (if so, feel free to comment on why they’re so awesome!), but who knows, maybe it will be something new to you!
FYI: “It’s the absolute ultimate!” is one of the most famous lines from the movie
Gidget, spoken by my cute little namesake.

“Cook Time: a Simple Oven Solution”

I have on occasion been known to forget to turn off the oven after I take out the yummy home-cookin’ that was inside. I’m not sure if this is some sort of subconscious rebellion since my dad is a fire chief, or if I often just have too much on my mind and flat-out forget. Either way, this is the last thing you want to do on a scorching hot day!

Last night when cooking a yummy family recipe called Crusty Pineapple (sounds a little odd but it tastes delicious!), I decided to try a button called Cook Time (not to be confused with Timer, which I’ve used before). Cook Time not only let me set a timer, but then when it was done, it kept beeping until I turned off the oven! Brilliant! Now, if there was only a similar feature on bathroom candles…. er, Dad, I hope you’re not reading this.

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Drastic times call for… Norah

I’m pretty rigid in my parenting. Rigid, but flexible at the same time, if that’s possible. We keep a schedule, have certain no-giving-in rules (No standing on the furniture!), and basically follow a Babywise philosophy. That said, flexibility and knowing what works for a particular child & circumstance are key ingredients for me in parenting.

Even though we are pretty rigid on some things, we are more lax on others… i.e. still using a pacifer at naps and in the morning in bed. NOTE: I’m so ready to be done with this little addiction. After our camping trip at the end of the month where I know we’re going to want her to have it for our (and the other campers’) sake, we will begin The Final Weaning Process off the paci. Also, because it has been so record-breaking hot here, and Chiquita gets the morning sun beating on her window, we’ve been bringing her a sippy of water in the morning because she’s been waking up early, upset & thirsty. Usually she’ll drink a little, take her paci that we bring her in the morning (to buy me a little more time for getting ready, Quiet Time, etc.) and go back to sleep. We’re hoping this morning drink doesn’t become another addiction…

she's supposed to napping here!

she's supposed to be napping here!

I just wanted to share that it’s a good idea to have some flexibility when the norm isn’t working for whatever reason. Here’s my best example: when Chiquita had her fussy moments as a baby, she always calmed down with some light, jazzy piano music. Her favorite was Norah Jones. I even bought another one of her CDs back then so we could have some variety.

our personal baby whisperer!

our personal baby whisperer!

Now that she’s older, she’s usually a great napper. But occasionally, be it due to teething or a catnap in the car earlier in the day, or whatever, sometimes she really fights going to sleep- I’m talking about hysterics. These occasions are now fewer and far between. But it’s nice knowing that if I get desperate, I can turn to our trusted baby whisperer, Norah. I have an iPod dock in Chiquita’s room for times like these, among others. I slip the iPod in there, let her cry it out while Norah croons, and usually she’s conked out before I know it.  I almost had to bust out Norah today… but alas, my good little girl finally calmed herself down and dozed off. So who knows, maybe she’s outgrowing this phase. But if not, I’m ready, iPod in hand.

**UPDATE: Chiquita woke up after about an hour. I gave her a little water (she was sweaty from napping in the heat), gave her back her paci & blankie, eventually put Norah on and… nothing worked. Don’t you just love the irony here? Classic parenting. Just when you think you’ve got something down, a secret weapon in your pocket say, it fails you miserably. So much for today’s to-do list.

Do you have any parenting hacks for flexibility or Secret Parenting Weapons to share?

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Prayer for Today

Today I’m going to see a fertility specialist for an evalution for recurrent miscarriages. This passage of scripture really spoke to me this week and it’s my prayer for today…

Excerpts from Psalm 143 (NKJV): A Psalm of David.

1 Hear my prayer, O LORD,
Give ear to my supplications!
In Your faithfulness answer me,
And in Your righteousness.
5 I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your works;
I muse on the work of Your hands.
6 I spread out my hands to You;
My soul longs for You like a thirsty land.  Selah
7 Answer me speedily, O LORD;
My spirit fails!
8 Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.
10 Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness.

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Who is Gidget, anyway?

The first time I associated myself with the character “Gidget” was in junior high art class where I made a bookmark that said “Gidget” on one side and “Moondoggie” on the other– I was a romantic at an early age. I had recently seen, and fallen in love with the 1959 movie Gidget (and with it, its companions Gidget Goes Hawaiian, and Gidget Goes to Rome). In girlie games of passing notes in class, “Gidget” was often my nickname of choice.  A few years later, I started surfing, probably in part so I could truly be like my “namesake.” Almost immediately, I was hooked on the sport, and despite my minimal talent I loved, and still love, being in the ocean, a place where I feel truly connected to God. By then “Gidget” was the nickname I used for notes, email, you name it.

Yep, I still have it!

Yep, I still have it!

Then, in college, I discovered that Gidget was indeed, a real person! The movies were based on a book, also called Gidget, by Frederick Kohner, who wrote it based on the experiences of his daughter, Kathy, as she learned to surf among all the guys in Malibu. I read it and of course, loved it.

My copy of "Gidget," autographed.

My copy of "Gidget;" it reads "the next wave is for you!"

The summer after I graduated from grad school, CSULB had a special event through the campus extension, a visit from Kathy Kohner Zuckerman, aka Gidget. I was probably the youngest one there in a small classroom with maybe 50 attendees. But it was amazing. She shared pictures, history and excerpts from her diaries.

Me with the real Gidget

Me with the real Gidget, 2006

Gidget is an icon in surfing; many say the Gidget movies are what catapulted surfing from a small brotherhood of guys to a mainstream phenomenon. So, in a way, I’m not really anything like Gidget. But I think there’s a part of me that still identifies with her immortal character.

Legacy is important to me. I don’t want my life to be meaningless. She didn’t mean to, but the real Gidget really changed a small corner of the world. I guess I hope I can have a lasting impact on my little corner, my home and the people who enter it.

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High Fructose Corn Syrup

Here’s the basic process for making HFCS:
corn –> (milled into) corn starch –>
(processed into) corn syrup + enzymes (change glucose to fructose)
= high fructose corn syrup

Google high fructose corn syrup and you’ll find a plethora of articles about it being bad for us. There are possible health concerns with diabetes and high cholesterol, and it may or may not be the cause of rising obesity in the U.S. But hey, eat foods filled with HFCS or sugar (can or beet) and you’re going to be putting your body at risk.

There’s another issue with HFCS though, and here are 2 of the reasons Wikipedia gives as to why it is so controversial:

  • The preference for high-fructose corn syrup over cane sugar among the vast majority of American food and beverage manufacturers is largely due to U.S. import quotas and tariffs on sugar. These tariffs significantly increase the domestic U.S. price for sugar, forcing Americans to pay more than twice the world price for sugar, thus making high-fructose corn syrup an attractive substitute in U.S. markets. For instance, soft drink makers like Coca-Cola use sugar in other nations, but use high-fructose corn syrup in their U.S. products.
  • Some critics of HFCS do not claim that it is any worse than similar quantities of sucrose would be, but rather focus on its prominent role in the overconsumption of sugar; for example, encouraging overconsumption through its low cost.

An article in the Washington Post says, “What makes corn a target is that federal subsidies — and tariffs on imported sugar — keep prices low, paving the way for widespread use of high-fructose corn syrup and, in the process, keeping the American palate accustomed to the sweetness it provides.” Add to that the problem of how much energy it takes to process the corn into HFCS, and the fact that corn is grown without rotating the crops, which is damaging to the soil, and requires even more pesticides.

I’m not yet very educated on the subject, but let’s just say the evidence suggests that HFCS is a real bad guy when it comes to our health and the planet. Maybe down the road, government corn subsidies will be properly addressed by a future farm bill, because for now, the subsidies are forcing us into eating more sweets than healthy alternatives, simply because they are cheaper.

One of these years, the eaters of America are going to demand a place at the table, and we will have the political debate over food policy we need and deserve. –Michael Pollan

More Resources:

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Book Giveaway!

Click on over to simplemom.net to read her interview of the author and for a chance to win this awesome-looking book, The Creative Family. I hope I win! 🙂

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SuperMarkets and Snacks

Here’s a nice little article/interview sent to me from #1 research assistant Sarah about supermarkets.
http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/200611/supermarket.asp

I like this quote:
It’s clearly good to have fewer pesticides in the soil and water–not to mention in your body and your children’s bodies–which is why it’s good to buy organic. But organic junk food is still junk food.

I think she makes a good point here. We definitely need to read labels, even on organic foods, but I will say that I’m glad there are (organic) alternatives out there for snacks that are better than the name brand versions.

My main thing with these snack-type foods right now is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)*, which I’m trying to avoid. Here are a few yummy snacks that I buy for Gigi (and mommy & daddy too).

  • 365 Organic Quack’n Bites (a Gigi-friendly alternative to Gold Fish)
  • Cascadian Farm Organic Chocolate Chip Granola Bars (David’s new Favorite!)
  • TJ’s “This Blueberry Walks Into a Bar…” Cereal Bars
  • O Organics for Toddlers (Safeway) Organic Cereal Bars
  • Hansen’s Creamy Root Beer (not for Gigi, don’t worry!!)
  • TJ’s Joe’s Os or Cascadian Farms Os
Do you have any tasty (& healthier than name brand) snack recommendations to share?And while we are on the subject of grocery stores, let me again mention how much I desperately miss Trader Joe’s out here in Colorado! (Heck, we did drive 5 hours once to go to one!)

*Check Gidget Goes Green again soon for a post with more information on HFCS, and why I don’t like it.

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