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!


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 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.

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.



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. 



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.


PS - Don't forget our SOUL FOOD COMPETITION ... we want your submissions so email your family favorite recipes to 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.


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