Thursday, August 13, 2009

NEW SITE!!!!

Hey friends we have a NEW SITE and we want to make sure you find us. Click here susanjsohn.com and make your way to everything new.

(ps - we've transferred everything so if you're looking for something in the archives it's on the new site ... see ya soon)!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

THE WINNER IS

Well friends we had our first ever Soul Food Competition and we have a winner!!!! Reann Gasper from Canada has won with her recipe for SWEET POTATO SALAD.

Congratulations Reann you will be receiving the amazing familyroom gift pack. This pack promises to bring your family closer together, your relationship with your hubby plus, plus, plus.

2nd place goes to Pam McGovern from Arizona. Pam's Mexican Wedding Cookies were a huge hit with our familyroom tasters. Congratulations Pam. Keep your eyes open because you are going to recieve a familyroom treat as well.

Thank you to everyone who entered. This competition is annual so we look forward to more recipes throughout the year.

Reann's Winning Entry is below. Make sure you try it!

Caribbean Sweet Potato Salad
 
Ingredients
2 large sweet potato, peeled and quartered 
1 cup corn 
1 teaspoon prepared Dijon-style mustard 
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro 
1 clove garlic, minced 
3 tablespoons canola oil 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 
1 cucumber, halved lengthwise and chopped 
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced 
1/4 cup finely chopped peanuts 

Method
1 .Place the sweet potatoe pieces into a large saucepan, and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil.
Once the potatoes are tender, add corn kernels; cook another 30 seconds. Drain through a colander. Fill the saucepan with cold water, and drop vegetables into water. Cool for 5 minutes, and drain. 
2. In a large bowl, whisk together mustard, lime juice, cilantro, and garlic. Slowly whisk in oil. Mix in salt and black pepper. 
3. Cut cooled potatoes into 1 inch cubes, and add to dressing along with cucumber, and red onion. Toss well. Serve at room temperature or chilled. 
Toss the peanuts in just before serving. 

Enjoy..... Susan 

Friday, June 19, 2009

Free Range Kids

Well friends it's Friday June 19th and (in Canada where we currently live) we only have 1 week of school left. I am 100% HANGING for my kids to be out of school. I love having them home. I love summer holiday. I love lazy days that roll into one another. I love the creativity I see in them as they discover new things to do each day. I love the smell of BBQ lunches, dinners and sometimes even breakfasts. I think you can tell that I love everything about summer ~ even dandelions because they are always made into the most amazing bouquet for me. Bring on the dandelions!

With summer holidays knocking at our door I thought who better to have as a guest on 'Real Life' than our newest friend, Lenore Skenazy author and founder of 'Free Range Kids' and her latest book which is a total hoot and one we all need just because it's lots of fun 'Who's the Blonde that Married What's His Name?' 

Our conversation was fantastic and we covered a lot. Jump on and have a listen ON DEMAND and make sure you suggest your friends listen too. There is definitely something for everyone plus you will find out what 'scratchy subject' Lenore and I plan to tackle during our next conversation ~ one that everyone will have something to say about.

I want to encourage you to buy Lenore's books and also make sure you follow her on twitter. To do so click here: freerangekids.

Have the best weekend. Stay well. Love each other and smile LOTS!

Susan

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A new tradition


Father's Day is just around the corner. This time last year, my husband and I were stressing (as we do with most special events and holidays) as we had to plan, and ultimately choose, which family we would celebrate with. I know it's completely possible to celebrate one the day before or after, but it seems that someone's feelings always end up being hurt. For my husband and I, holidays have tended to be a time of dread as we feel like we're treading on eggshells in an attempt to keep both sides happy.

The worst part is both of our families are in the same city ... it's not as though we have the option of actually leaving to visit the other in an attempt to keep everything "fair".

And so, as I'm sure it is with many couples, weekends that should be filled with laughter and memories have also included a bit of bitterness and resentment ... until Mother's Day '09.

We had decided to join my family for Mother's Day this year since my grandma was going to be around. Once again we were preparing to drop the news to the other side of the family, when something life-changing (perhaps even a miracle) happened.

With one quick phone call, our two families merged for an incredible afternoon. And in that moment a new tradition was born.

And so this Father's Day, rather then facing Sunday with dread, it will be a day we're ALL looking forward to, as once again the two families will join to celebrate together.

No more choosing sides for my husband and I, because really, we're all on the same side ... are we not?

I often comment on how lucky I am to have such incredible in-laws. I get along with them so well. I now get to comment on how lucky I am to have such incredible parents on both sides! Holidays and special events are now all-inclusive, rather then exclusive.

And I’m looking forward to what Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Easter, and so on, will bring as we unite rather then divide.

To all my juggling, struggling-to-balance-the-families friends out there ... if it's possible, just make it happen! Why not invite everyone over to your place? If the expense of hosting the family is a burden, make it a potluck celebration.

Start a new tradition and enjoy creating new memories!
CJ

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thank you Duncan Hines

Those of us with school-aged children and those who have walked through those years know full well how it feels when you hear sentences like, “Hey mom, I forgot to tell you that tomorrow morning we have to dress like pilgrims and bring home-made bread and lemonade to school,” or, “Do you remember, I volunteered you to come in tomorrow to make matchstick boats with our hot glue gun,” or my favourite and the most recent in our home, “Don't forget mom, tomorrow I need to bring three dozen cookies to school for the bake sale. Dad volunteered when you were away.”

Upon hearing that sentence last night at 7pm – as I was preparing to meet a Wolseley friend for dinner – my blood began to boil. Instantly, I had images of the other mothers’ baking. I saw it in beautifully packaged containers with the ingredients label written in swirly script, surrounded by hand-drawn butterflies and all that other 'fluffy' stuff. I visualized kids arriving at school waving goodbye to their mothers and skipping into the classroom with their freshly baked goods. I stopped myself and continued to focus on the task at hand, which was applying my mascara, however I was feeling the pressure. How was I going to get those cookies baked? When was I going to make them? Did he really volunteer or are they kidding me?

We headed out for dinner and I displayed confidence, promising my children that they would have something home-made for the bake sale. What that would be, I had no idea. Our dinner ended late, too late to begin baking, so instead I headed for bed determined to wake up early and start cooking. Sadly, neither my internal nor external alarm went off … isn't that always the way. At 7:05am (I usually wake at 6 or 6:15am) I jumped out of bed, splashed some water on my face, woke the kids and raced to the pantry to figure out what I was going to do. I switched on the light and there standing tall in confidence and glory was a product that doesn't usually find its way into my pantry simply because I'm the “home-made, from scratch girl”. The answer to my dilemma was indeed DUNCAN HINES. At that point, my thoughts of the packaging, the “not quite sure what's in it” and the cardboard taste were all erased. Just seeing those red letters screaming out DUNCAN HINES was enough to bring this mother of three, a grown woman, to tears. Goodbye three dozen cookies – hello 24 cupcakes!!

I quickly ripped open the box, grabbed a bowl, the oil, the eggs and the water and began to bake. Having been awake for less than five minutes, my reading skills weren't exactly sharp. Unfortunately, I mixed up the oil and water quantities ~ whoops. Thankfully, my son had made his way downstairs in record time and was able to respond to me yelling, “Grab me a spoon. I've put way too much oil in. Help, help, help.” The oil was quickly redistributed into a waiting coffee cup and the baking continued. Needless to say, with the extra oil, our cupcakes ended up being extremely moist and almost melt in your mouth delicious :)

Writing this today, I shared my story with my sister and she recalled a similar experience. Her youngest reminded her, on the way to school, that she was meant to bring in baking that day for a special event. Armed with this new information, my sister scoured Safeway’s baking section for the product that looked most home-made. After a successful purchase, she arrived at school to be greeted by a very organised, swirly writing mother who said, "home-baking I see".

So friends, sometimes you just need to switch into overdrive, do what it takes, remain calm and pull out maybe not your best baking results, but your best YOU results. Let frustration and a possible panic attack remain yours to deal with and do what you know to do. Bake, sew or glue and allow your kids to remain in the group that is skipping happily towards the school doors. Home-made, semi home-made or otherwise.

Susan J Sohn
susanjsohn.com
blogtalkradio.com/susanjsohn

Monday, June 08, 2009

One for the girls

Well, here's something that came to me and made me smile. After reading, I knew we needed to post it on the blog. You may have received it too and, if so, no apologies because it is DEFINITELY WORTH THE READ. Whether you’ve seen it once, twice or seventy-eight times, it hits home in some way – depending on the time of the month.

So friends, enjoy – and make sure you send this link http://www.susanjsohn.com/thefamilyroom to your family and friends.

Susan xo

Pregnancy Q & A and more!
Q: Should I have a baby after 35?
A: No, 35 children is enough.

Q : I'm two months pregnant now. When will my baby move?
A: With any luck, right after he finishes college.

Q : What is the most reliable method to determine a baby's sex?
A: Childbirth.

Q: My wife is five months pregnant and so moody that sometimes she's borderline irrational.
A: So what's your question?

Q: My childbirth instructor says it's not pain I'll feel during labour, but pressure. Is she right?
A: Yes, in the same way that a tornado might be called an air current.

Q: When is the best time to get an epidural?
A: Right after you find out you're pregnant.

Q: Is there any reason I have to be in the delivery room while my wife is in labour?
A: Not unless the word 'alimony' means anything to you.

Q: Is there anything I should avoid while recovering from childbirth?
A: Yes, pregnancy.

Q: Do I have to have a baby shower?
A: Not if you change the baby's diaper very quickly.

Q: Our baby was born last week. When will my wife begin to feel and act normal again?
A: When the kids are in college.

10 ways to know if you have oestrogen issues
1. Everyone around you has an attitude problem.
2. You're adding chocolate chips to your cheese omelette.
3. The dryer has shrunk every last pair of your jeans.
4. Your husband is suddenly agreeing to everything you say.
5. You 're using your cellular phone to dial up every bumper sticker that says: 'How's my driving-call 1- 800-'.
6. Everyone's head looks like an invitation to batting practice.
7. Everyone seems to have just landed here from 'outer space.'
9. You're sure that everyone is scheming to drive you crazy.
10. The ibuprofen bottle is empty and you bought it yesterday.

Top ten things only women understand
10. Cats' facial expressions.
9. The need for the same style of shoes in different colours.
8. Why beansprouts aren't just weeds.
7. Fat clothes.
6. Taking a car trip without trying to beat your best time.
5. The difference between beige, ecru, cream, off-white, and eggshell.
4. Cutting your hair to make it grow.
3. Eyelash curlers.
2. The inaccuracy of every bathroom scale ever made.
AND, the Number One thing only women understand:
1. OTHER WOMEN

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Global romance crisis


In the midst of all the talk about the credit crunch, there’s another crisis looming: the global romantic crisis. Hard economic times have caused many of us to cut back, cut out and do without. Sadly, it’s sometimes the important stuff that often goes first. Like date nights.

In the good old days, my husband and I would have gone on a date once a month; sometimes to dinner or to the movies or to see a show. These days, it’s out of the question. By the time we’ve paid for a babysitter and dinner, we’ve forked out $100+ … money we don’t have.

Consequently, our Saturday nights have been dateless for sometime. Instead, we feed the kids, eat off our laps and watch whatever happens to be on TV – which most recently has been Wife Swap, not exactly wholesome viewing. Sometimes our nights look like this: Scotty plays on the computer, I watch TV and we retire an hour apart. Wa wah wah waaaaaah!!!!!

Last Saturday night, in our quest to rekindle the romance, I fed the kids early, put on a video (for them) and set the coffee table in the lounge room. Yes, the lounge room! Alternatively, we could have eaten outside (bit cold), moved our dining table or put a rug on the lawn to have a picnic.

Reliving our fine dining moments, I put a couple of candles on the table, dimmed the lights, cranked up Celine and poured a glass of red wine for me (red cordial for my tee-total husband).

For the next hour, we ate (left-overs on toast – keeping with the budget) and talked (a rarity considering the busy-ness of our lives). We connected again. It became a very special night.

My plan is to make every second Saturday night a date night – for us this might mean dinner in the lounge room again, a picnic in the garden or simply just watching a video in our bedroom. My advice to others: make it a priority and be creative ... it’s important!

Nicole Partridge

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The importance of respect

During the last week in Sydney, Australia, there has been a media frenzy around a story involving rugby league players and group sex – specifically an incident that occurred seven years ago in a hotel room in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Without going into too much detail, as the media has already done that, the woman supposedly agreed to have sex with two football players, but somehow, and this is where the truth blurs, other team members decided to get in on the action.

Depending on whose side of the story you believe, the woman was in agreement with this and, according to former work colleagues, she boasted of this interlude the next day.

It’s worth mentioning that she was 19 years old at the time and, it would not be unreasonable to assume, very naïve. Five days later she went to the police to inform them she had been sexually assaulted.

This is not the first time such events have occurred in Australia with rugby league teams.

Sadly, the governing body that oversees the sport, the NRL, has been unable to prevent these types of events from transpiring time and time again; some would say they haven’t taken a hard enough line with players who choose to conduct themselves in this manner.

In response to the story, the NRL has gone to great lengths to inform the public of its endeavours to train players in the way they behave in public and with members of the opposite sex and therein lies the problem.

How have we as a society come to the point where adults need special classes in how to treat members of the opposite sex. Isn’t this something that we should learn as we are growing up? I’m sure the vast majority of men reading this article would not even consider treating a woman in such a demeaning and degrading way.

Sadly, the men involved in this story didn’t think this way and were happy to indulge their fantasies. Those that didn’t were happy to stand by and watch, happy to treat this girl, somebody’s daughter, somebody’s sister, as nothing more than a plaything. They didn’t even know her name.

Having friends who were professional athletes, I know there are woman who will throw themselves at sports stars in some vain attempt to connect with celebrity. One player interviewed this week told how, within 30 minutes of walking into a bar, he had offers of sex from three different women.

Society today has an unhealthy obsession with celebrity. There are people, especially young women, who constantly endeavour to emulate their favourite celebrity. Some celebrities are good role models but sadly most are not. Do you really want your daughter to follow in the footsteps of Paris, Britney or Lindsay, or your son to grow up emulating some of the extracurricular activities of their favourite sport stars and entertainers?

Forgive me if it appears I have mounted my moral high horse to judge celebrities, I have no idea of the issues and challenges that they have to confront on a daily basis, living with constant media scrutiny on every aspect of their lives. It must be daunting to say the least, and the vast majority of us should share the blame when these people fall as we are happy to indulge in the continual barrage of shows and gossip magazines the media presents to us.

As parents, we have a responsibility to our children not only to educate them and give them the skills to live their lives as healthy and well-adjusted adults, but to instil morals, values and a depth of character in them. Our daughters need to know their self-worth is not dependant on who they know and who they look like. Our sons need to show proper respect for women and the courage to stand up to those who don’t.

Last year, our police commissioner was asked what he regarded as the biggest problem facing our society today. The answer was simple – RESPECT. We as a society no longer seem to respect our police, each other or even ourselves, he said.

So there is the challenge for each of us entrusted with the privilege of raising our next generation. I absolutely believe that if we don’t like the way our society is moving we, as parents, can bring about change one child at a time.

Remember, you control what is being taught in your home!

Mark

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Site

Hey friends sorry things have been a 'little' quiet here. We are working double time, trying to get our new site up which (hopefully) should be up by the weekend......so much to do and it's all so exciting.

Stay tuned and be prepared for all things NEW.

Don't forget to jump into our weekday online radio conversation 'REAL LIFE with Susan Sohn'. The show starts every morning at 9:30am Mountain Standard. Remember you can listen LIVE or ON DEMAND so, if you've missed a show or two don't worry, you can listen at your own convenience.  

Have the best day and keep changing the world.
Susan

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Letting boys be boys

I have the privilege of raising two teenage boys, one 14 and the other 12. They are so different in every way.

One loves movies, video games and footy. He enjoys to just hang out in his room in his own world. My other son, the 12-year-old, loves skateboarding, skateboarding and skateboarding. He adores being around his friends all the time. Sometimes my husband and I feel at a loss trying to keep one step ahead of them – we are learning as well.

Recently, my two boys attended a footy training event. It had been raining for several days prior, so the ground was wet and muddy, just wonderful for them to play in. I had also booked movie tickets for the boys and their two friends that afternoon and when I arrived to pick them all up, I just had to laugh out loud. They were absolutely filthy but looked totally happy.

I was so pleased to see them smiling and having a ball. It made me wonder if boys these days don’t get the chance to do this kind of thing often enough. I didn’t even mind having to dash home for them to shower before the movies.

I love my two boys so much and I realise they are very different young men with different likes and dislikes. It is amazing to watch them grow and I am looking forward to seeing them become the best young men they can be. There is so much potential in them both to be great husbands and fathers.

I am just as much to blame as other mums for not letting my boys get stuck into things as much as they might like. Maybe it’s because of the washing, or not wanting them to get hurt, but let your boys be boys. Let them get down and dirty, they love it! Boys need this stuff in their lives. It’s a crucial part of their development.

I have a 10-year-old daughter and she would also love to get out there in the mud. Girls need this stuff too.

So today, let me encourage you to let your kids be kids. The mud and the grass stains will wash away, but the fun they experience and the memories you create will stay with them forever.

Love Bea

Monday, May 11, 2009

Use Your Voice


Hi everyone,

Just wanted to let you know about a little, no cost, no time way that
I was able to make a difference this week.

The other day, I went to fill up the tank with petrol (or gas if you're in America) and as soon as I walked into the service station, my eyes were met by large, bikini-clad breasts on the cover of a magazine, directly at a child's eye level. My soon-to-be 12-year-old daughter and I recently had a talk about porn and she said she had been aware of magazine porn in particular since she was about 8.

So, I asked the guy serving me if he was the manager. He wasn't, so I told him to please relay to the manager that I would never bring my children inside this petrol station for a drink or an ice-block while filling up because I found his display of magazines offensive. He said nervously (the poor guy was young) that he would pass on the message.

This morning, when I returned to fill my tank again, I noticed the display had changed. The same guy was working and before I even made it to the counter, he was beaming at me saying that his manager had been very sorry about the incident and had promised to hide the magazines nearer the back of the shop. I thanked him and asked him to relay my appreciation to his manager.

I know we can't stop our kids from being exposed to this stuff, but maybe we can limit it. Maybe if we all said something to our local newsagent or petrol station we could make a difference. Also, I encourage you to talk to your kids about it. They are seeing it, processing it and outworking it without us even being aware. Keep the
lines of communication open!

Use your voice this week and see if you can make a difference in
your world.

Lv Jane

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Mother's Day - Honoring Mothers Everywhere

Today on 'Coffee with Susan and Friends' in prep for Mother's Day we honored mothers everywhere. As guests on the show, I had my own mother, Isabel, and my sister, Katherine Gagne. We had calls from some amazing people including my older brother, Robert, who was, in fact, born on Mother's Day some 46 years ago. Robert said some beautiful things about the listening ear and insight of a mother. My younger brother, Peter, who has down syndrome, called in and in his own way said what he says to our mother almost daily, definitely a statement you will want to hear.

As I closed the show I said something to my mother about aging and what she's teaching us. Reann called in and thanked her mother and others in her world. The show was a tear jerker for sure and tugged at every heart string. I pulled out some of the conversation that was happening in the chat room, so friends ... have a listen and let your heart be warmed.

To mothers everywhere, we honor you, we pay tribute, we thank you and we LOVE YOU.

Now to the Emails and Tweets:
From Lisa:
Hey Susan! What a great idea!
Sorry I won't be able to be on the call, but I thought I would take a quick moment to send a message.
When I was younger, and especially in my teens, I wasn't that close with my mom. I didn't see all that she did for me each day to make my life easier. I took it all for granted, and until I was in my late 20s, didn't really see how much she did for me over the years.
In my mid 30s, I had some marital problems, and when I opened up to my mom about them, she was there for me 100%. She encouraged me to work at my marriage and to realize that I had a great man as a husband. When I was having a bad/blue day, she would offer to take my young children for me so I could have time to cry if I needed to or to just be alone.
I don't know that we can ever repay our mothers for all they do while we grow up. I try every day now to at least call her, and I make a point of seeing her every week, a few times a week where possible. She is getting to an age now where she needs me to help her and to take care of her and I know that I'll be here for her, just as she was there for me when I needed her love and attention.
Thanks Mom!
From Barry:

My mother means everything to me. She always believes the best & loves selflessly. She's my hero. I love & miss her so much.

From Lori:

Hi Susan
Wish I was going to be home tomorrow to catch your show. I am sure it will be great. As Mother Day approaches I think of my Mom more frequently. It has been a year and a bit since she passed away and I still miss her every day. So many times I have caught myself thinking that I will have to phone her to ask about a recipe or about how to fix something or just to say hello...only to realize that I can't ever do that again.

I am very grateful for the time that her and I had together near the end. I value the lessons learned from her and hope that I have passed them on to my children.

She raised eight children on her own after my father died. My oldest brother was 19 years old and the youngest was three. I still marvel at how she was able to take care of all of us on her own. I would ask her about it sometimes and she would just smile and say that she just did what she had to do........a lot of hard work and sometimes a big stick! HA HA HA I don't ever recall hearing Mom complain about the cards life dealt her. She is one of the strongest women that I knew.

When Mom came to live at the Nursing Home in my town I was able to go and visit her everyday after work. I always tried to be cheerful when I went to see her even if some days I was not necessarily feeling that way. I figured that she did not need to hear about my tough days at work. She had always been such an independant woman all her life and now she was totally dependant on others to help her with everything from her personal care to feeding her. It was very difficult for her to deal with. But no matter how hard I tried to hide my feelings from her she always knew when I had had a bad day. Mom could not speak very well due to the stroke but she spoke volumns with her beautiful blue eyes. On my bad days she would reach out and pull my head down onto her lap and stroke my hair so gently. Of course I always felt better after....what child wouldn't after feeling their mothers loving touch. I learned that you are never to old to need your mother.

Anyway Susan I could go on for pages talking about what a great woman my Mom was. She was loving, kind, considerate, funny...the list goes on and on. Feel free to edit out what ever you want. I know I can get carried away when I start writing.

Have a great show and I look forward to listening to it tomorrow night.

From Jane:

My mum (Betty) is unbelievably strong despite a significant physical disability and being restricted by pain all the time, never complains. She has always had such a heart for the underdog and the downtrodden and is an activist at 75!! I like to think that I am a little like her in this way....there is a pretty constant undercurrent of tension between us as there can be between mothers and daughters, but when I choose not to irritated by the petty stupid things and be the bigger person, she is an inspiration!

From Sam:

One thing I have always loved about my mum (Pam) is the wonderful feeling that when my kids are with her, I know they are safe. There is no baby sitter like your Mum. Also, I am forever grateful for her prayers and her commitment to her children.

We would love to hear about your mum. Send us a comment and share her with us and join us as we celebrate Mother's everywhere.


Have a great weekend everyone.

Susan J Sohn

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Quote of the Day

On my radio show today (Coffee with Susan and Friends) we were talking about teaching our children about manners. Whilst the show LIVE there is a chat room that is always open and the conversation is always fun, interesting, very funny at times and always stimulating (to join the chat jump on blogtalkradio and register. You will need to come up with a user name and password. it only takes about 1 minute to go on....register and join the conversation).

Today the best line came through in the chat room. It was referred to by a caller and myself as pure, solid, 24 carat gold. It truly was the best line of the day. One of our listeners (who will remain anonymous until she chooses otherwise) said this:

"I've been told by my 5 year old that he hates me when I enforce a rule." I replied, "That's okay, I love you enough for both of us."

I think you'll agree, that's gold. What a wise, wise mother so quick to respond not with anger or biting back and a sharp comment, rather she responded with wisdom and love

I hope you will join our weekday conversation and share some of your wisdom with us. We all need a little more :)

Have the best day and keep changing the world.

Today's Fact: Gaston Leroux, born in Paris in on May 6, 1868 was a journalist and author of the Phantom of the Opera (1910).

Susan J Sohn

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Guacamole - the best i've ever tasted

hey friends here's a recipe you will want to make it comes from my brother Robert. he makes this for every family gathering. mainly because we all crave it and he makes it so well and he knows it's always a hit. seriously it is the one thing that is gobbled up and we can always be found searching for more when the bowl is empty.

this recipe serves 4 however my suggestion and my brother's would be to make a double batch when entertaining. trust us, there won't be any left. also, our suggestion would be to use mortar and pestle to grind everything together. the flavor is amazing that way. if you don't have one a fork and bowl work just fine.

Guacamole 

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

2 tbsp. finely chopped white onion
3 firmly packed tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp. finely chopped jalapeño
1 tsp. salt
3 medium-ripe hass avocados
3 tbsp. diced tomato

1. Grind 1 tbsp. of the onions, 1 tbsp. of  the cilantro, jalapeño, and salt together in a mortar and pestle until all the ingredients are well ground. (Alternatively, use a fork to mash the ingredients to a paste in a wide bowl.)

2. Cut avocados (about 8 ounces each) in half. Twist the halves to separate them and remove the pit with the tip of the knife. Place an avocado half, cut side up, in your palm and make 3 or 4 evenly spaced lengthwise cuts through its flesh down to the skin, without cutting through the skin. Make 4 crosswise cuts in the same fashion.

3. Scoop the diced avocado flesh into the mortar. Repeat with remaining avocado halves. Gently fold the avocado into the chile–onion paste, keeping the avocado pieces fairly intact.

4. Add tomatoes, remaining 2 tbsp. of the cilantro, and remaining 1 tbsp. of the onions.

5. Fold together all the ingredients. Taste and add salt, if necessary.

6. Serve immediately with tortilla chips.

enjoy friends. let us know if you make it and how your family and friends enjoyed. 

susan

 

Monday, May 04, 2009

May In Motion

Hey friends, May is here and it's time to get moving. Whether you are experiencing spring in the northern hemisphere or moving into winter in the southern, we want to keep ourselves fit, healthy and strong. With that in mind, we are launching may in motion.

This means we all stand up, get moving and get fit. The motivation for this came from a few conversations I've had recently. The first being with my father, talking about his recent heart surgery, the recovery and the gift of life. Another conversation I had brought up the subject of playing and I was again inspired to go out and just 'play' with my kids. Today my shoulder is extremely sore after 1.5 hours of baseball with my son. This conversation was with Julie Maloney of wiimommies. She and I will be having another conversation tomorrow on coffee with susan and friends so check it out and make sure you listen because we're talking about sex and a few other subjects ... spicy!

We want to hear from you. Let us know what you're going to do for may in motion. Will you be walking, biking, running or simply getting outside and playing with your children? We want to get everyone moving. so please share your story.

Susan

PS - Don't forget our SOUL FOOD COMPETITION ... we want your submissions so email your family favorite recipes to susanjsohn@gmail.com. Help us gather people around the dining table and enter to win our special prize!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Life as a new mum

A few weeks ago, we asked you, our amazing readers, to send in your stories. To share with us how the world looks through your eyes and let us in on your secrets for building a healthy, happy family. Today, we would like to welcome Reann to thefamilyroom blog. We hope you enjoy her thought-provoking words on the early days with a new baby.

One of the greatest treasures in life is being able to bring a child into this world. Seeing my baby girl for the first time was a breath-taking moment, one that I will never forget. I remember thinking after labour how fortune I was to have my husband and mum with me through this experience, but my mind couldn’t help but turn to the many single mums out there who have to go through this experience alone. They are heroes, strong women for whom I have a lot of respect.

It made me appreciate even more my mum’s presence with me in that season. She made it her mission to take care of me so that I could take care of my daughter. After my mum left, I remember feeling very unsure of what to do and in those times I would read. It could get pretty overwhelming, but I am thankful for the great books on parenting out there. When those feelings flooded in, I would remember something I had read which would help me make the right choice.

Mercy was very colicky for her first two months. Once, when she was crying, I was so tired that I didn’t know what else to do to console her. I walked into her room and felt so helpless that I walked right out again. I cried, calmed myself down, then walked back in and picked her up and rocked her until she fell asleep. Sometimes, as new mums we need to walk away and collect our thoughts, then go back in with a right frame of mind.

Sleep is still minimal and as a new mum I quickly learned that the saying “sleep when baby is sleeping” was not just a nice suggestion but a survival tool. Time is another challenge. Before Mercy, life was very busy – we were always doing something, going somewhere. With her in the picture, we’ve had to adapt our busy schedule.

I am still on a journey of learning how to balance everything that is required of me, but I am thankful for the women in my life who offer support and words of wisdom as I navigate this season.

Being new parents, we realise the privilege we have of being a part of this precious life from the beginning. We share new experiences like her first feed, bath, diaper change and her first smile. The first time she discovered her lips and in more recent times her first tooth.

There is no feeling like that of being a parent. The love you experience for this tiny life is truly out of this world. We are so grateful for our precious gift, Mercy Evangeline Gasper. She is our joy.

Reann

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Time Flying By

Have you ever found yourself looking at life and just wondering? Wondering where 39, 45, 67 or 78 years have gone (depending on your current age). Does it feel like time is slipping through your fingers like sand from the beach?

I had a day like that today. I found myself looking at life, thus far, marvelling at my three amazing children, my marriage, my aging parents and the world around me. I think all of this started to hit me last night as my hubby and I were driving home. We had popped out to have a quick dinner; just the two of us. On our way home, we sat quietly in the car, listening to our local radio station. During one of the ad breaks there was a mention of something medical, requesting those 50 and over to make sure they got themselves checked out.

After the ad was finished, I turned my head to look at my (very) handsome 41-year-old husband and said, "Hmmm, isn't that funny, it feels like it was only yesterday when I wouldn't have even had a second listen to an ad like that. Today, I've just realised that you are only 9 years away from that time and those tests, and I only 11 years. Where does time go and how does it slip through our fingers?"

Tonight, I sat listening to my eldest daughter rehearse her oral presentation for class tomorrow. I found myself astounded by her vocabulary, her poise and her confidence. It was in that moment that I realised where the time had gone. The time hasn't been like the sand from the beach and slipped through my fingers at all. I have lost nothing, rather I have gained the world because that time has been spent and deposited well within my children.

Yes, there are new lines on my face and grey can be found hidden and at times peeking out; indeed my numbers are increasing. However I ask myself, "Is time flying by?" My response, "Absolutely, it's going at rocket speed. However, today I am thankful that my moments, hours, weeks, months and years are being used well by three amazing lives, who in this moment depend on me being the best me I can be."

Susan J Sohn

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Teaching Our Children

Children never cease to amaze me. Whether it be with their words, actions or tender hearts. They truly have a way of touching the inner-most parts of our being.

Last night, as I was putting my son to bed, we began talking about school and focusing on the week ahead. We talked about the importance of listening to his teacher and what good work looks like. I expressed my concern at his rushing through his work and making careless mistakes, all in an effort to finish as quickly as possible. As we talked, he began to tell me he was making mistakes because he couldn't remember what she was saying. He said that maybe, just maybe, he was a little like Dory in Finding Nemo. Tears filled his little eyes as he was telling me this and I could see and hear that something was bothering him.

I gracefully turned the conversation to dinosaurs and asked him what the name of the one with the long neck was. He answered and began to explain all the extraordinary things about this particular dinosaur. I then asked about the ones with the fin-like things on their backs. He paused, scratched his chin and responded with excitement. He again filled me in on all the important details. I asked him which dinosaur flies and he quickly told me. With all that information, I lay on his bed, his head cradled comfortably in my arm, and began to tell him how wise he was and how amazed I was at how much was stored in his mind.

I turned to sharks, knowing this was another keen interest of his. I asked about the hammerhead, the nurse and of course the great white. He was full of details including weight, length, eating habits, rituals, etc. He knew everything there was to know about sharks. Again, I lay marvelling at the mind of a young boy and the level of excitement as he shared his knowledge.

We lay quietly for a while and eventually he turned his little head in my direction and said, "I know what you've just done mum. You've showed me that I can remember, that I'm not like Dory, that if I get as interested in what my teacher is telling me as I am about dinosaurs and sharks, I'll get all the answers right." To this I simply responded with a hug and whispered gently in his ear, "My darling son, you are a wise, wise boy and you know so many things. I can't wait to see what you will do this week and how you will learn and remember. I think you're an amazing person and I love you."

As parents we need to LISTEN to our children and by that I mean truly listen. We need to take time to slow down, stop the noise and allow our children to be vulnerable with us. In these moments we need to allow creativity, kindness and gentleness to ooze out of us. Creativity because we need to discover ways to communicate so that they will understand. Kindness and gentleness because they are essential ingredients to great parenting.

Susan J Sohn xo

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Menopause

Well friends today we did it. We interviewed an amazing guest on our show. Dr. Henry Hess, author of The Perfect Menopause - 7 Steps to the Best Time of our Lives. It was a great show and I STONGLY encourage you, whether you are peri menopausal, in the thick of it or just feeling slightly 'different' and can't put your finger on it.....listen to the show and get his book! 

One of my first questions was, "How can this be the Best Time of our Lives?' To hear his response listen ON DEMAND to Coffee with Susan and Friends on BLOGTALKRADIO. We had amazing callers, great conversation and more and it was all stuff we need to know.

Dr. Hess has confirmed a date for a follow on conversation where we will delve even further in to this conversation. I am so looking forward to that show and chatting with him again. May 28, 2009 9:30-10:30am is a date and time you WILL want to mark in your calendar.

Message me back after you've listened to the show. I can't wait to read your responses.

Susan

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Wind in My Hair

Yesterday afternoon I found myself with time on my own (a rare thing for a mum of three). I had no one calling my name, no books to be found, no keys to look for, no drink to get, no bum to wipe....... it was bliss!

My thoughts were drawn to curling up on the couch with a good book and a warm cup of Earl Grey, or continuing my work on thefamilyroom and my social media endeavors. Neither really captivated my thoughts on how to spend this precious time. Lurking in the back of my mind, however was the continual reminder of my determination to keep my body strong. As pondered this I decided to capture the moment and spend it on my physical self.

Before the motivation drifted I quickly changed into my exercise gear, laced up my shoes and headed for the garage. I pulled my bike out of the stand, jumped on and was on my way. I quickly realised one thing..... I had forgotten my helmet and in this day and age we are all required or it is strongly suggested that we wear a helmet ~ something that I find a little frustrating, especially on a good hair day! However in saying that, in an effort to teach my children I put the sucker on every ride.

Keep in mind, for this ride I was ALL ALONE. So friends, I threw caution to the wind and away I went without a helmet!!! I rode and rode and rode. Wind in my hair, twisting, turning and rolling along. I felt like a child again. I could even be seen riding with no hands and in my head I was calling out, 'LOOK MUM, NO HANDS!'

My ride was so much fun and I had a smile from ear to ear. My bum was aching from the seat, my legs were burning and I could feel sweat dripping down my back. I had truly exerted myself physically and that combined with the wind through my hair I was fully and completely satisfied.

I returned home to a big glass of water, changed back into my jeans, grabbed an apple from the fridge and headed off to pick my children up from school.

A good decision indeed. I encourage everyone, everywhere to dust off your wheels and go for a ride. There truly is nothing like the wind in your hair and the sun on your face.

Susan J Sohn

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Story of Stuff

In preparation for tomorrow's radio show 'Tightwad Tuesday' I want to encourage you to watch a short film clip that I was recently introduced to.

I love things that make me think and things that challenge me to not just accept the status quo. This short film does exactly that. The film is about STUFF, STUFF, STUFF. We all have it, we all deal with it and we all get bothered by it. 

One of my favorite parts of this film is the explanation of 'planned and perceived obsolescence'. If one thing drives me nuts it's when your washing machine, computer or even your car konks out 2 days after the warranty runs out..... this situation then forces us to purchase yet another machine to replace the one that could have, should have just been simply repaired. Oh the pain of STUFF!

Another point she makes is that happiness (in the US) was at an all time high in the 50's. Sadly now we have more stuff but less time and we are less happy in almost every area of life! I think we all know there is truth in that and as far as the 50's go, talk to your parents or your grandparents and they will tell you what life was like.

We live in such a 'disposable' world and it's not nice. Not only do we freely dispose of our STUFF but this trend (if you can call it that) seems to have filtered through to our relationships ~ families are breaking down, friendships are tossed to the side and the list goes on.

Like me, many of you (at some time or another) have probably complained about the STUFF your parents have tucked away in their homes, garages and sheds. I'm beginning to think our criticism should be directed back at ourselves and perhaps we should begin to learn from some of their frugality and resourcefulness in an effort to save our world.

We have a responsibility to our children and our children's children and to ourselves to keep our world and planet safe in all respects. This cycle and what is represented in this film is just one part of the equation, there are so many other angles we need to address as well.

Enjoy the short film and ask yourself ~ What can I do today that will make a difference? Every effort counts. Remember, it takes many drops to fill an ocean. Please join us tomorrow morning 9:30am mst for 'Tightwad Tuesday'. We want to hear your clever ideas on being resourceful, how to save, stretch and walk through this stage of the economic story.


Susan J Sohn

PS - don't forget to enter our familyroom COMPETITION - Soul Food. We want your family favorite recipe. We are daring to make a difference and endeavouring to gather people across the globe to their dining tables. Together we CAN make a difference in this world.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Words to Live By

I was inspired to post the lyrics from the song 'If I Can Help Somebody' by Composer Alma Bazel Androzzo. Having been challenged by Susan Boyle's performance on Britian's Got Talent I thought these words should be shared and they are words that we should all live by:

If I Can Help Somebody
If I can help somebody as I pass along, if I can cheer somebody with a word or song, if I can show somebody he is traveling wrong then my living shall not be in vain.

If I can do my duty as a good man ought, if I can bring back beauty to a world up wrought, if I can spread loves message that the master taught, then my living shall not be in vain.
Composer
Alma Bazel Androzzo

I hope these words inspire you to live different and cause you to be the biggest CHEERLEADER in your family and amongst your friends. Go for it and together let's make the world a better place.

Susan J Sohn

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Go Susan Boyle

I encourage all of you to watch this video. I LOVE people and I LOVE the stories of life. Susan Boyle, a 47 year old British woman, truly awed the audience and the judges of this competition.

What a voice, what a woman and what courage. She fulfilled a dream to sing in front of many and to become a 'professional singer'. I love what the female judge said, "Everybody was against you. I honestly think we were all being very cynical and I think it's the BIGGEST wake up call ever. It was a complete priviledge to listen to you."

Friends, let's begin to cheer one another on, rather than poking fun, laughing and putting people in boxes. Let's be people who encourage one another to be the best we can be. Imagine if this voice was kept in the secret for another 47 years!!!!

What are you dreaming about? What are you hoping for? Allow a little of Susan Boyle's strength and courage to challenge you to dare to believe for the unbelievable. LIVE THE DREAM friends!


Susan J Sohn xoxo

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

COMPETITION TIME - Soul Food of Your Home

Okay friends welcome to our first EVER familyroom COMPETITION. We always talk about getting family and friends around the table, so today we want to hear from YOU! We want you to submit (to us) your favorite recipes. We want those that have been passed down through the generations, the ones that your family and friends crave, the soul food of your home.

Our hope is that we will gather recipes from around the globe. We want to share them and see families together around the dining table. Once submitted we will publish all the recipes and pick a competition winner. The WINNER will receive a special familyroom gift (these gifts are truly amazing and you WILL want to win) plus we will interview you and feature your story (because everyone has an amazing story) on our blog!!!!!

So friends start typing and sending or cutting and pasting and give us your family favorite. Together we will help thousands around the planet come to the table.

Email you submissions to susanjsohn@gmail.com. We can't wait to start receiving your entries. This is exciting!

Susan & friends xo

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Human trafficking - a tragedy of our times

Ask anyone for their opinion on the slave trade and most will tell you that it was abolished nearly 200 years ago. That, thanks to the heroic efforts of campaigners like William Wilberforce, today’s society lives free of this evil scourge and people are largely masters of their own destinies.

It might surprise you, therefore, to learn that across the world today more than 27 million people are living in slavery, and human trafficking, or people smuggling, has become one of the most profitable forms of organised crime, up there with arms and drugs dealing.

And I know you're now thinking I must be talking about impoverished
people groups and war-torn or under-developed nations. Well, those sectors of society are certainly extremely vulnerable, but the truth is that, according to the United Nations, every single country on the planet is affected in some way by human trafficking.

Some nations are targeted as a source for slaves, some are destinations, others serve as a crossroads, which victims transit through. Some countries figure in all three roles.

The networks controlling this modern-day slavery are vast and menacing. They operate in the shadows and every year they smuggle hundreds of thousands of victims across international borders and into a life of cruelty and bondage.

Forget those old images of shackles and chains, modern-day slavery takes many forms. It includes women and children being kidnapped and forced into prostitution, it encompasses forced labour in sweatshops and factories, it involves the tragedy of child soldiers made to fight an adult war and it extends to domestic helpers living in the unpaid service of ruthless and violent households. It may shock you to know that Europe and North America are major trafficking destinations.

Such is the reach of this crime, that the United Nations this year produced a global report examining every country's efforts in tackling it. Some are doing better than others. Many have developed special government and police task forces to focus on the problem and have welcomed the help of charities and independent organisations in rescuing and supporting victims.

Others treat the victims as criminals, labelling them illegal immigrants and charging them with crimes like prostitution. Often, the public imagine these victims have chosen their own path in life, we enjoy such freedom that it’s hard for us to believe and accept that slavery exists. But would a 10 or 12-year-old girl really choose a life in the sex trade? Would a mother really cut off ties with her family to toil in a sweatshop earning a pittance – wages which are often taken straight back by her employer as payment towards some imaginary debt?

But there is some good news in all this. The United Nations considers that
raising public awareness about human trafficking is its number one weapon in fighting this escalating crime. And that's why we're telling you about it today.

Don’t be fooled, this does happen in our own backyards, but by increasing our knowledge about it, we can be the key which sets these prisoners free.

The information we've shared here today only scratches the surface. If you want to know more, there are stacks of websites you can visit. Some of the leading ones are:

http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/
http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/what-is-human-trafficking.html
http://www.unodc.org/blueheart/
http://www.polarisproject.org/
http://www.humantrafficking.org/
http://www.thea21campaign.org/

The scale of this problem can feel overwhelming, but don’t be discouraged. If our heightened awareness ultimately keeps just one vulnerable person safe, it will have been worth it.

Deborah

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hop, Hop, Hop

Just a quick update on Easter Monday to say.......we're off! We're having a break today and will be back tomorrow with something new and exciting.

I hope you have all had an amazing weekend. Like me, I'm sure many of you will need to 'Detox' after the crazy amounts of chocolate we've all enjoyed.

Take care and we'll see ya tomoz!

Susan and friends xo

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Easter feast

Growing up in England, Easter always heralded the onset of spring with its watery blue skies, crowds of golden daffodils and vibrant green grass emerging from a winter prison of frost and snow.

In celebration of the season, Easter Sunday lunch was always a grand affair. Family and friends gathered for the traditional roast which, without exception, was a mouth-watering leg of lamb accompanied by mint sauce and all the trimmings.

These days, I live in the southern hemisphere, where Easter brings a welcome chill to the air after a sweltering summer, and Sydney’s spectacular blue skies provide a beautiful backdrop to the browns, reds and golds of autumn.

Australian chef Bill Granger’s slow-cooked Greek lamb is a favourite in our family and a perfect celebration dish whatever the season. Its long, slow cooking time fills the house with delightful aromas and the meat is so tender it virtually melts in your mouth.

It does take a very long time to cook, but the end result is worth the wait. We usually leave out the olives and serve the dish with a crisp Greek salad or extra roasted veggies, depending on the weather.

Enjoy
Deborah

Ingredients
2kg leg of lamb on the bone, trimmed
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Small handful fresh oregano leaves
Juice of 1 lemon, plus 1 lemon, quartered
3 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large potatoes (such as desiree), peeled and cut into chunks
1 cup large green olives

Method
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Put the lamb in a large roasting tin and season well with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the oregano and pour over the lemon juice and wine. Drizzle with the olive oil and roast for 20 minutes, or until the lamb is browned.

Add 125 ml (½ cup) of water to the roasting tin and cover the tin with foil. Reduce the oven to 160°C and roast the lamb for another 1½ hours. Arrange the potato and lemon quarters around the lamb and return to the oven for another 2 hours, turning the potatoes at least once during this time and basting the lamb with the pan juices. The lamb should be very tender.

Remove the lamb from the tin and set aside to rest before slicing. Increase the oven to 220°C. Add the olives to the tin with the potatoes and return to the oven for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden. Serve with the lamb, with some pan juices spooned over the top.

Monday, April 06, 2009

How to Pack Smart

Well friends, here I am in the middle of packing (to go and meet the Dell's ... woot, woot!) and I have decided that I need a break and I need to tell you something ~ what a multi-tasker or is that procrastinator? Hmmmmm, think I'll go with multi-tasker considering I'm almost finished. Just need to organise the liquids and make sure anything over 100mls is neatly packed in the checked luggage and everything else has a home.

As I was packing, I was trying to come up with a solution to avoid the inevitable mix-up of clothing (I'm only using one suitcase for the kids and myself, Philip gets his own plus shoes ... I'm sure he'll be happy) and the 'clothes hanging off of everything in the hotel room' look. I think I have come up with a marvelous solution ... PILLOW CASES!

That's right. I grabbed four pillow cases and have neatly folded and placed everyone's clothes in a separate pillow case. This will give everyone not only the ability to keep their 'stuff' together and separate, but also one or two of them will serve as much-needed laundry bags on the way home.

So, as I excitedly prepare for a getaway with some of our nearest and dearest friends, I find myself creating new ideas (or maybe not so new) to be efficient and to keep our family rolling. I can't wait to share the stories and pictures of our adventure together. Seeing these friends will be a good dose of medicine for the soul. I can't wait! 20 hours and counting.

Take care and please remember to jump on and listen to our radio show this week we have GREAT stuff lined up for you. Lastly, don't forget 'to the world you may only be someone, but to someone you may be the world'.

Say hello to your family for me.

Susan

Friday, April 03, 2009

Easy Chicken Surprise

As promised I am providing my TWITTER friends with the quick and easy dinner recipe I made last night. I was celebrating because my oven was finally fixed (after 1 month of waiting for a part to arrive........urgh!). Repair man left and I was ready, apron on pan in one hand and chicken in the other.....WHAT NOW? What was I going to make?

I decided to come up with something original or should I say, semi-original. I had seen a picture on the back of a Campbell's Soup can and thought it look tasty so decided to make it my own. I'm not usually one to use processed food at all but today I thought why not ~ give it a go. It turned out really well and something we can all pull together super quick and it's yummo!

Here's what I did:

Easy Chicken Surprise (my made up name)

Ingredients:
5 Chicken Breasts
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper 
1 Can Campbell's Mushroom Soup
Stove Top Stuffing
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Zucchini

Method:
Brown Chicken in Olive Oil (approx 10 mins)
Remove Chicken and place in small glass baking pan. Scrape bottom of pan and include with chicken.
Make Stove top stuffing as per box instructions. When finished add mushroom soup to stuffing and mix. 
Cover chicken with stuffing mixture.
Slice Zucchini and place slices on top of Chicken and Stuffing covering the entire dish.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes

Serve with peas, crunchy salad, your favorite dressing and you have a yummy meal!!!!

Enjoy!
Susan

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Teen Suicide - A Very Real Issue

Hey everyone as you know I've been doing shows focussing on keeping our kids safe! Today we did another show along that very line and talked about Teen Suicide. Katherine Gagne of Junior Achievement and Shine Women's Conference was our guest and shared candidly about a suicide situation that has found it's way into her life. 

As a coach of a junior girls Volleyball team Katherine is now walking her own girls (mother of 3) plus her team members through the sudden loss of one of their own players. Sadly, she was lost to Teen Suicide. I encourage you to listen ON DEMAND to our conversation and continue to keep yourself aware of the danger that is lurking in the lives of our children (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/susanjsohn).

I promised I would post some of the stats and information I shared on the show. This information is limited however it is a starting point for you to do some more investigating on your own.

Teen Suicide Statistics:
  • 24.1% of teens have thought seriously about attempting suicide.
  • 17.1% have made specific plans about suicide.
  • 8.7% of students have attempted suicide.
  • 2.8% have made an attempt that resulted in medical attention.
  • *Suicide claims more lives in North America than homicide*
  • Teen Suicide is the 6th leading cause of death for kids between the ages of 5-14
  • Teen Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for kids between the ages of 15-24

Fast Facts on Teen Suicide:
  • Teens having the highest risk include perfectionists or overachievers
  • Teens who have been through a life altering event, such as divorce, pregnancy, loss of limbs or sight, or loss of a loved one are also very high risk.
  • Teenagers with a conduct disorder, or who have a mental disorder, such as clinical depression, schizophrenia, or eating disorders have a high risk.
  • Another high risk group are teens who are victims of bullying or domestic abuse.
Warning Signs:
  • Depression
  • Self-mutilation
  • Drug/Alcohol use
  • No sense of humour
  • Changes in social interactions
  • Change in eating and sleeping habits
  • Loss of interest in activities normally enjoyed
  • Drastic weight loss or gain commonly attributed to specific eating disorders
  • Complete or near-complete withdrawal altogether from peers and social contact
  • Persistent boredom, difficulty concentrating, or a decline in the quality of schoolwork
  • Mood changes (especially if the teenager acts increasingly angry about life in general)
  • Quietness, especially if the teenager used to confide in the parent and suddenly no longer does
Helpful Sites and Resources:

www.organizedwisdom.com
www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teenage_suicide
www.americanacademyofpediatrics.com
National Alliance on Mentall Illness
Contact your GP and talk

I hope this has been helpful and that we all continue to use our voice and do what we can to keep our kids safe. Please, keep lines of communication open in your homes, make sure your children know they have a soft place to land when times are tough and they feel like there's no tomorrow or 'no light at the end of the tunnel'. 

Susan

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Thai Green Curry for family and friends

Well friends, for those of you who listened to my radio show this morning (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/susanjsohn) I promised my simple and very yummy Thai green curry recipe. This recipe is easy, very cost effective and great to serve either as a nice family dinner or for guests.

To jazz up your table, you could light a couple of candles and decorate with green and red chillies, either in decorative bowls or just scattered down the middle of the table. If you wanted to go the extra mile, you could buy a few banana leaves from the florist and serve your meal on them rather than plates. Something fun and just a little different.

I have used prawns in this version, however if prawns aren't your thing then substitute with chicken or fish. I have added a number of vegetables to the following recipe as options, but you can keep it simple and serve with just the sauce and rice if that works better for you. I like to use brown rice with this dish ~ it adds that lovely nutty flavour plus gives that great boost of fibre we can all use.

I hope you enjoy this simple yet delicious treat.
Susan

Ingredients:
Prawns – at least 8-10 per person
1 can baby corn (optional)
½ cup thinly sliced red capsicum (optional)
Handful of green beans (optional – leave the ends on for look)
Green curry paste (you can buy this in the supermarket and it usually has very few additives which is GREAT!)
1 can coconut milk (I use lite)
A dash of fish sauce (if you have it) for taste. If you don't have it, a sprinkle of salt will do

Method:
Heat the coconut milk and add the green curry paste. Bring to a rolling boil
Add the baby corn, beans and prawns
Boil gently, the sauce will thicken on its own
Add the red capsicum, serve and enjoy

Monday, March 30, 2009

Keep the kissing alive

In the run up to Valentine’s Day this year, I was thinking about what my husband of 17 years would really love.

I considered spending money and buying him something nice, or maybe taking him out for a great meal, just the two of us.

What a dilemma.

Now, those of you who know me are aware that I am not the most romantic woman on this earth. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when my husband Mark and I do get the chance to be romantic with each other, but with three kids and endless weekly activities, we are often too busy. We are continually trying to work out ways of finding more time for each other.

Well, here’s what I did. I decided to write him a letter and print it on nice paper, then put some love hearts on it and so on. My 10-year-old daughter came to the rescue and helped me include some pictures – thank goodness for computer-savvy kids.

Then, I thought about the fact that I really don’t kiss him enough. He is the most loving, caring and affectionate man I know and he deserves so much more from me.

When Valentine’s Day finally came around, the weather was cold and miserable, so we stayed home and enjoyed a wonderful family meal. But I was able to give Mark his letter and I made sure I gave him a huge, sloppy kiss. He just loved it!

So, I’m sharing this story with you all today to encourage couples out there to rekindle the kissing in your marriages. It’s an intimate moment and is guaranteed to bring you much closer together.

Belinda

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Journey and the Destination


Enjoy the journey

Having small children, I enjoy the privilege of experiencing the wonder of childhood almost every day.

Last weekend, I took my kids on the Toronto subway for the very first time. On entering, my seven-year-old could barely contain his excitement at the thought of speeding through an underground tunnel on a train. He clutched his younger sister’s hand on the platform, their eyes glittering in anticipation. We managed to get the front seat next to the conductor. My children sat backwards with their faces plastered against the window, and I couldn’t help compare their wonder with the adult interpretation of the ride: the dull, daily ritual that transports them to and from work each day.

I believe that deep within us all, lies a longing to recapture this innocent celebration of life. I saw glimpses of that desire show itself in the smiles on the faces of nearby passengers as they watched my children marvel in the simplicity of a ride on the subway. Their joy was contagious and many were eager to be part of it.

When we emerged from the subway on the way to the famous Royal Ontario Museum, I wondered what my kids would remember more fondly – the ride on the subway or the visit to the museum itself. As is true with many things, isn’t the journey often more memorable than the destination?

Rebecca

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