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Monthly Archives: April 2012

GIGGLES OF HOPE

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When I was a little girl, my parents gave me a Giggles Doll for my birthday.  I had yearned for this doll for a long time, and I was so delighted when I received her as a gift.  The doll was just as any doll except she would giggle when you moved her arm up and down.  Every time she giggled, I giggled.  I loved my doll!

My little sister wanted to play with Giggles, too.  I would let her play with my doll on occasion; however, my sister did not just want to play with her in our room.  She wanted to take my favorite doll in the bathtub.  The instructions that came with Giggles explicitly said not to put the doll in water.  Therefore, I warned my sister to play with the doll anywhere but in the bathtub.

One evening I went with my father to the store and left Giggles at home.  When I returned, I went in search of Giggles, finding her in the bathtub with my little sister.  The horror of seeing my favorite doll in the water was overwhelming! Giggles’ beautiful hair was matted to her head, her clothes were on the bathroom floor, and when I swiped her out of my little sister’s hands, she was waterlogged with soapy bath water.

My mom came running to see what was wrong when she heard my scream.  Quickly performing doll CPR, my mom placed Giggles in the sink and shook her roughly to remove the excess water.  By then, I was crying and Giggles had bubbles pouring out of her head.  I was traumatized by the scene. The first thing I did the following morning was go into the bathroom and check on Giggles.  I found that she was dry and did not have any residue of bubbles in her hair.  I dressed her in her colorful dress and put her shoes on her plastic feet. The hair on Giggles’ head was still matted and gently I tried to brush it to its former luster.  Finally, I sat on the bottom bunk of the bed I shared with my little sister, and pulled Giggle’s arm up and down to see if she would work. NOTHING!  I tried repeatedly to no avail. I was heart-broken.

For days, I kept hoping that Giggles would giggle once more. I would pull her arm, but she did not work.  My little sister was just as upset as I was.  She felt terrible that she had broken my favorite doll.  We both worked hard trying to rehabilitate Giggles, but we finally gave up and set her on the shelf.

Many months later, I walked past Giggles and the twinkle in her eye made me take her down from the shelf.  I smoothed the hair on her head that never did have the store-bought luster return, and for the heck of it, I pulled her arm up and down.  I do not think I have ever had a happier day, for when I pulled her arm she giggled.  It was a loud, robust giggle that made me, too, giggle. I ran out of the room yelling.  I found my sister and hugged her. We giggled together, pulling Giggles’ arm up and down until we were crying with laughter.

It is funny, but I learned a valuable lesson from my Giggles doll.  I learned that I should never give up hope.  Miracles can happen even when it seems impossible. If I can just be patient, wait a little while, and pull the arm up and down, the world will be all right.

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

Personification in Everyday Life

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As humans, we like to give our human qualities to inanimate objects.  Even our food takes on human qualities. Share a story of a weird object you have seen with human-like qualities.

 
 
Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Giver by Lois Lowery

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The Giver (The Giver, #1)The Giver by Lois Lowry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you like dystopian stories like The Hunger Games, you will love The Giver. This young adult novel written by Lois Lowery is set in the future where everything is “sameness”. The main character in the story is Jonas, a 12-year-old who has been assigned his life’s profession as a Receiver of the community’s memories.

In Jonas’ community, you apply for your mate, and apply for children. Birthmothers whose assignment in the community is only to have babies for three years birth children. The elderly and those who are not perfect are chosen for “release”.

The book has won The 1994 Newberry Award, and the American Library Association named it as one of the 100 Most Challenged books.

This book deals with the ideas of sexuality, war, and controlled societies. It is listed as a Young Adult Novel; however, it is written so well, that adults will enjoy the story, too. Lois Lowery weaves a tale that makes you think deeply about even it after you have put the book down.

View all my reviews

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

How Long Should I Freeze my Food?

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What is the average storage life of foods stored in the freezer?  I did a little research on the Internet, and I found some nifty charts.  A good idea would be to hang a chart on an inside cabinet or on the fridge to refer to when I am wondering if the frozen fish is still safe to eat.

What I learned from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service site is that frozen food can remain safe indefinitely as long as it stays frozen.  If food is frozen too long, freezer burn or discoloring may occur affecting the taste and quality of the food.  Below is a chart that will help cooks to decide if the food they wish to eat is still of good quality.

Freezer Storage Chart (0 °F)
Note: Freezer storage is for quality only. Frozen foods remain safe indefinitely.

ITEM

MONTHS

Bacon and Sausage 1-2 months
Casseroles 2-3 months
Egg Whites or Egg Substitutes 12 months
Frozen Dinners or Entrees 3-4 months
Gravy, Meat, or Poultry 2-3 months
Ham, Hotdogs, or Lunchmeat 1-2 months
Meats, Uncooked Roasts 4-12 months
Meat, uncooked steaks or chops 4-12 months
Meat, uncooked ground 3-4 months
Meat, cooked 2-3 months
Poultry, uncooked whole 12 months
Poultry, uncooked parts 9 months
Poultry, uncooked giblets 3-4 months
Poultry, cooked 4 months
Soups, Chili, and Stews 2-3 months
Wild game, uncooked 12 months

You can check out more food safety facts at the USDA site http://www.fsis.usda.gov/FactSheets/Focus_On_Freezing/index.asp

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

Grandmother’s Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Yummy chocolate goodness to please every chocolate lover.

Categories: Desserts, Pies, & Cakes

Yield: 12 muffins

INGREDIENTS:

 2 cups flour, all-purpose

2 teaspoons Baking powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking soda

1 square Baker’s chocolate, melted

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup Almond Milk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

12 paper muffin cups

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

2.  In a large bowl, add all dry ingredients.

3.  Melt baking chocolate in the microwave for 45 seconds.  Add to dry mix.

4.  Add all liquid ingredients and stir. Leave the batter lumpy.  Add the chocolate chips. Spoon into muffin cups and fill the cups ¾ the way up. Sprinkle some extra chocolate chips on the top.

5.  Bake for 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Notes: Add some chocolate chips to the top of the batter before baking for extra chocolate goodness.

Source: Recipes from the Vault

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

Mega, Extreme Dinosaur Lover

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My grandson has been obsessed with dinosaurs since he was two years old.  He knows every name, in Greek and Latin terms, and every tiny description and fact about dinosaurs.  He has a robotic T-Rex, and scores of triceratops, Diplodocus, and velociraptors, sitting on his shelves in his bedroom.  He reads encyclopedias of dinosaurs and watches every movie ever made about them.  He is infatuated with these extinct creatures.

For his birthday, my grandson’s parents took him to the Field Museum to see the exhibit that housed the famous T-Rex, Sue.  They spent the night at the museum, sleeping amongst the dinosaurs in their sleeping bags.   My grandson met with other kids who were also enamored with dinos and they ran and giggled as the huge beasts watched. He was in heaven.

I do not remember ever being so besotted with any one thing in the same way my grandson is smitten with dinosaurs.  I know my son loved choo-choo trains when he was little, and then he liked fire engines, Lego’s, Nintendo, and… However, my grandson does not seem to be willing to leave the dinosaur craze behind him.  He has become interested in Godzilla, but it is only a made up creature similar to a dinosaur. Oh, and he likes Lego’s now, but he made me buy the new dinosaur collection.

A friend of mine insinuated that maybe there was something wrong with my grandson’s fanatical love of dinosaurs.  However, I do not agree.  I think it is great that he is able to stick with one thing and really study it.  His preoccupation keeps him entertained and using his imagination.  What could be so bad with that?

Who knows? Maybe he will grow up to be a scientist, zoologist, or a paleontologist.  Possibly, with his skill and passion for looking in-depth at things, he could find a cure for cancer or unearth answers to world problems.  Or else, he could become an awesome Dad who can have interesting conversations with his own son about dinosaurs.  Whatever he does with his life, I am sure that he will do it with zeal and curiosity, and I will be extremely proud of him.

Do you know any children who are obsessed with something?  Feel free to share your story.

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson

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The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed AmericaThe Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This non-fiction book reads like a great mystery novel. It won me over immediately due to its setting of Chicago in 1893. This was at the time of The World’s Fair (The World’s Columbian Exposition) and the great architect Daniel H. Burnham who created the “Great White City”.

The book revolves around Herman Webster Mudgett (aka Dr. H.H. Holmes) who lured his victims from the fair and murdered them. This serial killer even built his own building, “The World’s Fair Hotel” with a plan to gas the victims in the gas chamber, dissect them at the dissection table, and rid himself of the bodies in the crematorium. Dr. Holmes often removed the skeletons of his victims and sold them for medical and scientific study. Many of those skeletons may have been used in medical colleges and hospitals.

The interesting thing about this book is how the author wove this story of murder and mayhem with the story of the architect Daniel Burnham. The reader is given insight to the character and dream of Burnham and of the politics that went into creating a World’s Fair.

This excellent book leaves the reader hungry for more. Leonardo Di Caprio purchased the film rights to this book in 2010. Word is that a movie starring Di Caprio is in production. No word as to when it might be released. If the movie is half as good as the book, it will be a blockbuster.

View all my reviews

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 
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