Tuesday, June 23, 2009


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
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 

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!


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!

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

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:

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