Last fall my husband decided that he wanted to take vegetarianism a step further and become a vegan. (That means no eggs or dairy in addition to no me...moreLast fall my husband decided that he wanted to take vegetarianism a step further and become a vegan. (That means no eggs or dairy in addition to no meat.) I really tried to be supportive, and bought a book that he had recommended to him, but the recipes it had generally called for ingredients that I couldn’t find and many ingredients that I wasn’t allowed to eat anyway (because my baby had terrible reflux, and one of these days I’ll get around to writing about that debacle). So after a couple months we gave up. For Christmas my friend gave us a copy of Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero and I recently got around to reading the whole thing. I love this book. Even if you’re not ready to take the plunge into full-out veganism it give lots of delicious ideas and recipes for just eating more vegetables and hearty grains. (Think- great resource when you get some random vegetable in your produce co-op basket that you have yet to successfully turn into something that your family will eat.) I love that it has many recipes that are not based on highly processed soy products. And for the most part they call for ingredients that I am familiar with! It made me feel like vegan eating just might be a possibility. It also has multiple color photos, which are always nice. Plus they have amusing and quirky commentary for their recipes. Most of the recipes are pretty involved, however there are also many that are pretty quick and simple. The facts of life are that often good-tasting healthy food just requires a lot of work. Now obviously being the mother of three small children I have not had the time to try every recipe in this book, but everyone that I have tried has been good. I’ve tried the Sun-dried Tomato Dip, Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango, Herb-Scalloped Potatoes, Roasted Portobellos, Chickpea Cutlets with Mustard Sauce, Black Beans in Chipotle Adobo Sauce, Pineapple Cashew Quinoa Stir-fry, and Almond Quinoa Muffins. High on my list to try are: Fudgy Wudgy Blueberry Brownies, Coconut-Lemon Bundt Cake, Scallion Flatbread, Baja Tempeh Tacos, Chipotle Vegetable Tamales and Rustic White Beans and Mushrooms. (less)
I wish that I had discovered this book as a newlywed. A clean house can save you time, money, improve your health and make you feel better about yours...moreI wish that I had discovered this book as a newlywed. A clean house can save you time, money, improve your health and make you feel better about yourself. This book is a good guide to cleaning your house and is full of tips and pointers. (Although many of the decorating ideas are questionable or at least dated. But then I can't say that I'm a decorating expert either.) I also liked her statement "The easiest way to keep a house clean is to keep a clean house." So true!(less)
This book was recommended to me by my husband, a former school teacher.The author, was originally a math and french teacher, but after spending a lot...moreThis book was recommended to me by my husband, a former school teacher.The author, was originally a math and french teacher, but after spending a lot time studying children and education and writing a couple of books went on contribute a great deal to the home school movement. Between reading this and How Children Fail, homeschooling is something that I am contemplating. And if nothing else I will very closely monitor what and how my children are learning. I strongly recommend this book to parents teachers and anyone who works with children. It is longer than How Children Fail, slow to get into, and a lot to digest, but it has so many enlightening points. I feel like this quote from the book summarizes Holt's philosophy pretty well: "The child is curious. He wants to make sense out of things, find out how things work, gain competence and control over himself and his environment, do what he can see other people doing. He is open, receptive, and perceptive. He does not shut himself off from the strange, confused, complicated world around him. He observes it closely and sharply, tries to take it all in. He is experimental. He does not merely observe the world around him, but tastes it, touches it, hefts it, bends it, breaks it. To find out how reality works, he works on it. He is bold. He is not afraid of making mistakes. And he is patient. He can tolerate an extraordinary amount of uncertainty, confusion, ignorance and suspense. He does not have to have instant meaning in any new situation. He is willing and able to wait for meaning to come to him- even if it comes slowly, which it usually does." Children are smart. They often know more than we give them credit for. And they can often handle more than we give them credit for too. Imagine the world from the eyes of a child. There is so much that doesn't make sense to one so new to the world, yet despite the confusion they move on mastering one thing at a time. As they do and try they notice their own mistakes and eventually fix them. To learn and to grow children have to trust and they have to feel accepted. They have to know that the mistakes that they make, don't matter. That they are loved and valued regardless, that someone believes that they can grow and learn anyway. And it is important that we play games with them, not because we believe it will develop their mind and get them into college, but because we love them. Children have to learn things in an order that is relevant to them if they are going to hold on to it. We can support and encourage this, but not force. If we let them study dinosaurs because that is what interests them, from there they will improve reading skills, learn earth science, biology and history and may very well branch to other fields of study as their interests take them that way. If we force them to learn what we feel is important they will learn and quiz and test them along the way, they will often become defensive. Even if they don't instead of thinking that learning is about how things work they think that learning is about finding answers to please grown-ups. As children learn, we must talk to them like regular people, not stupid midgets or minions. Children can tell the difference. "If we think that every time we talk to a child we must teach her something, our talk may become calculated and fake and may lead children to think, like so many of today's young people, that all talk is a lie and a cheat." If we show children sincere love and interest their confidence will grow, as will their love of learning. "There is no time in all of a child's growing up, when he will not be seriously hurt if he feels that we adults are not interested in what he is trying to say." One slow afternoon, I was reading this book at work. One of the pediatricians asked me "So how do children learn?" "They learn by doing and trying and failing and trying again. They don't learn by being corrected and humiliated, tested and forced." "Funny, that's exactly how God is with us. He lets us grow by trying, failing and trying again. And he doesn't force us to do or be anything." There's a lot of truth in that. Can you imagine that if every time we made a mistake an all-powerful God came down to tell us we were wrong? Would we be afraid to try, afraid to learn? Absolutely. I imagine that to some small children their parents and teachers seem very much like that. Someone very powerful and intimidating telling them that they are wrong. But God doesn't work like that. He's loving and patient and usually lets us learn from our own mistakes. (less)
This book takes research findings and breaks them down into helpful tips for the average family. Each secret is accompanied by a short story about a...more This book takes research findings and breaks them down into helpful tips for the average family. Each secret is accompanied by a short story about a different family or individual, some famous, some average and a related research finding. Some of the secrets seemed profound and others seemed more obvious, but it depends on you, your family and your experience. I really enjoyed this book. I think it has a little something for everyone and it's a quick read.(less)
As my husband is a teacher by trade, he has read several books on children and education that he recommended I read. One of these is How Children Fail...moreAs my husband is a teacher by trade, he has read several books on children and education that he recommended I read. One of these is How Children Fail by John Holt. I found it to be profound and fascinating and recommend it to anyone who cares about what their children learn or education. (Plus at under 200 pages, it's a quick read.) John Holt was a teacher and this book is a collection of memos that he shared with other teachers and his administration. His memos were based on observations in teaching his own students and observing other teachers in their classrooms. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
* The only answer that really sticks in a child's mind is the answer to a question that he asked or might ask of himself. * Our aim must be to build soundly, and if this means that we must build more slowly, so be it. The work of the children themselves will tell us. * The invention of the wheel was as big a step forward as the invention of the airplane—bigger, in fact... Above all, we will have to avoid the difficult temptation of showing slow students the wheel so that they may more quickly get to work on the airplanes...Knowledge that is not genuinely discovered by children will very likely prove useless and will soon be forgotten. * There must be a way to educate young children so that the great human qualities that we know are in them may be developed. But we'll never do it as long as we are obsessed with tests...How can we foster a joyous, alert, whole-hearted participation in life, if we build all our schooling around the holiness of getting "right answers?" * A child is most intelligent when...he cares most about what he is doing. * When a child gets right answers by illegitimate means, and gets credit for knowing what he doesn't know, and knows he doesn't know, it does double harm. First, he doesn't learn, his confusions are not cleared up; secondly, he comes to believe that a combination of bluffing, guessing, mind reading, snatching at clues and getting answers from other people is what he is supposed to do at school; that this is what school is all about; that nothing else is possible. * Kids really like to learn (they) just don't like being pushed around.
Throughout the book he talks a great deal about the use of fear to get children to learn. Fear is not an effective motivator. It may have immediate results, in that children grasp at whatever means possible to find the right answer, but they don't usually understand or retain the process this way. As he described the children he worked with and their various learning failures I thought back to a girl I had worked with during my psych rotation of nursing school. She started out as bright, smart, cheerful, healthy and happy. After a weekend visit to her father, she was found abandoned and huddled in a little ball. No one knows exactly what happened to her. They suspected some extreme abuse, but she never came out of the secret world that she had run away to. I observed her more than a dozen years after the incident and she was still rocking and hiding somewhere else, only emerging occasionally to scream. This is obviously an extreme example, but I think that it holds true. Children can become so crippled by fear and stress that they don't learn. Afraid of failure and disapproval they often hide away within themselves, away from the unpleasant stimulus that they can't bear. Another method that he speaks against is tricks and formulas. I remember as a student being bothered by formulas. They didn't tell me why I was getting the answer I was getting. And when I would I ask why, my teachers would be annoyed and generally tell me in an exasperated manner, that's just the way it is. As a result I forgot most algebra as soon as I possibly could. No one could ever tell me where these answers were coming from, I was just manipulating numbers. The "right answers" were not relevant to me, so I didn't retain it. This book makes me resolved to be a better teacher of my own children. I want them to love learning.(less)
I have a love-hate relationship with this book. There are some great insights and wisdom found in these pages. There are also some things that if a pe...moreI have a love-hate relationship with this book. There are some great insights and wisdom found in these pages. There are also some things that if a person said this to me they would have unleashed some wicked fury. I think the thing that I love most about this book is the quote from the author on the back. "A loving marriage is the foundation of a happy family, and a happy family the foundation of a stable society. Most of the problems in this world stem from troubled homes. If we are to have peace in the world, we must begin at home." Yes! Now that is sound advice. According to the author, the ideal woman (from a man's point of view) has the following qualities: she understands men, has inner happiness, has a worthy character, is a domestic goddess, is feminine, radiates happiness, has radiant health and is childlike (not childish). I can more or less buy that, and through the book she explains how to gain these qualities. I found the part about understanding men very interesting. She explains why you can't change a man and trying to do so is futile. A man needs to feel accepted by the woman he loves, his home a place where he can feel secure. If this happens he will love her more. Sure, a man has faults, but so does every woman, he doesn't want you to point them out. If you try to change him, he will only get defensive. Appreciate what is good in him and you are more likely to bring out his better qualities. In this section I also read many things that made me realize so that's exactly why Mr. & Mrs. X are so very unhappy. And there were a couple things that I have been doing right and it explained why they work. Good to know. I liked that she strongly encourages women to improve themselves, and not just in ways that are obviously for pleasing their men. Women need to have self-control, unselfishness, charity, humility, diligence, patience, moral courage, and honesty. They need to get enough sleep, exercise, eat properly, drink lots of water, take time to relax and have a healthy mental attitude. They should keep up on current events and spend time reading good books. They should find joy in the small and simple things in life. However, these things do aid to make a woman fascinating to a man. Every woman can improve in at least one of these areas. Now for the things I didn't like about this book. In fact these quotes made me so angry that I highlighted them in my book. I never do that. "If chivalry is dead, women have killed it. They have killed it by becoming capable, efficient and independent..." Ok, I think that I could rant for a long time about why I have issues with that statement, but I'll sum it up in two points. 1) A man should be chivalrous because it is a reflection of his own character, not because of any quality or lack thereof in a woman that he should be courteous to. 2)What in the world is wrong with being capable and efficient? Is it better to be incapable and inefficient? 'Oh help, I am a woman and can do nothing in a satisfactory manner. As I am now so crippled in all facets of my being you should now love me and put me on a pedestal.' Um, no. "A man's feeling of worth can be undermined when he sees women in the workforce doing a better job than he, advancing to a higher position, or earning more pay." If he were a real man, he'd grow a back bone and get over it. Does a man really feel less about himself when he sees someone else doing well? He should either be content with his efforts or try to improve. There are lots of men and women out there who are better at or have more of a lot of things than myself, but that is not a reflection of me, my abilities or my worth as a person. Comparing yourself to other people will only make you unhappy. Throughout the book she also talks about the importance of a woman staying at home with her children. That is a woman's place and not elsewhere. And she gives many arguments that we've all heard before. Now I agree that it is important for a woman to be at home with her kids, especially when they are young. And I do believe that the job of mother is the most important that a woman can have, however that doesn't mean that other jobs that she may have are so unimportant that they can be ignored. What would happen if I and every other mother that worked in the hospital quit? Many units would have to shut down entirely. Who would be there to care for sick children? Who would be there to assist women in labor, or care for them after delivery? Who would care for every other person who is in the hospital? Not nearly enough people I can promise you that. I also detested many of the testimonials that are given throughout the book. If my husband started kissing my feet and saying silly sappy things, I would think he had hit his head or been possessed by aliens or something. It gives numerous examples of husbands who did things that a woman shouldn't put up with, but they just started applying the principles of FW and now everything is bliss. Really? Gag. Some women need to grow some back bones too, or tune into reality. And the book is very much in love with itself. 'Fascinating Womanhood can save any marriage'. Hardly. Having said all of that, I still think that it was worth the read. There are many principles here that if applied can improve your marriage and your life in general. However, some of the advice must be taken with a grain of salt. (less)