Thursday, August 19, 2010

Salt, Safety and Summer Fun

According to Salt Institute there are over 14,000 ways to use this common and readily available mineral. For thousands of years salt, (sodium chloride) has been used to preserve food and for cleaning. You might want to try these tips next time you pull the salt shaker out of the cupboard....
Test egg freshness: 2 tsp. in cup of water. Place egg in cup. Fresh egg will sink, older egg will float b/c air cell in egg increases as it ages, and older egg is more buoyant
Shell nuts more easily: soak pecans or walnuts in salt water for several hours before shelling to make it easier to remove the meat
Remove odors from hands: you can wash with soap and water and then rub hands on stainless steel to get rid of odors or rub fingers with salt and a vinegar combo to remove garlic-onion smells
Extend the life of cheese: prevent mold on cheese by wrapping in a cloth moistened with saltwater before refrigerating
Save the bottom of your oven: if a pie or casserole bubbles over in oven, place handful of salt on top of spill. It won’t smoke and smell, and it will bake into a crust that makes the baked on mess much easier to clean when it has cooled

If you have college bound students in your household and you're busy gathering all those supplies sheets, towels, fan, as well as all the other "stuff" you might want to also talk to your student about keeping their "stuff" and themselves safe on campus.

· Many freshmen like to adopt an “open-door” policy but this is an invitation to would be thieves
· If you have computer or laptop, tether it to something solid using a security cable. Or motion sensors for laptops are also available
· For small valuables, keep in a trunk. It can also double as a nightstand
· Room safes have been scaled down to look less intimidating
· If roommate loses their key, don’t leave door open; contact resident assistant to get new lock and key
· Keep a small fire extinguisher if you have appliances in room.
· A Kevlar blanket is good to have on hand to smother flames
· Female students should carry a small can of pepper spray
· College students are at a much greater risk for identity theft so don’t give out bank, credit card, or social security information over the phone or on-line. And be sure to shred sensitive documents (A small shredded is a good idea to have in the dorm)
· If you suspect id theft: go to for help

What's more fun in the summer than an afternoon at the fair?

We did the Idea Exchange Show live from Radio Park. I remember going to the fair with my grandfather. He cleaned and repaired guns and would always have a booth during the fair. He'd pick me up in the morning, Mom would pack a lunch for me and then I was free to wander the grounds. I'd walk through the buildings looking at all the exhibits first. Then I would make my over to the midway. My favorite rides were the Carousel (loved the calliope music) and the Ferris Wheel (The best spot to be able see for miles and miles at the top!). I would always stop for cotton candy and I threw away all my nickles (or was it quarters?) trying to pitch them on the cut glass plates in order to win a HUGE pastel colored teddy bear.

Much to my dismay, I never did get that stuffed animal! But it was always fun to spend a day at the fair!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Connecting, College and Communication

Are you an iConnected Parent?

We had a facinating conversation with Dr. Barbara Hofer, author of the book "THE iCONNECTED PARENT: STAYING CLOSE TO YOUR KIDS IN COLLEGE (AND BEYOND) WHILE LETTING THEM GROW UP". Dr. Hofer, a Middlebury College psychology professor and Abigail Sullivan Moore, a journalist who has reported on college and highs school trends have written a very compelling account of this new parenting phenomenon.

What is an iConnected parent? It is someone who is deeply involved in their children's lives, even as they approach adulthood, by utelizing the technology of instant communication. (cell phones, text messaging, email, facebook, etc).

I was amazed at some of the finding from the study. Most students connected with their parents in some way, at least 2 times per day. AND they were satisfied with the amount of contact and involvement that their parents were giving. Dr. Hofer documents parents who edit their children's papers, help in the selection of classes, and who call the dean or professor when their child recieves a poor grade! Some parents go so far as to accompany their children to job interviews for internships and full time positions once they have graduated! (I cannot imagine my children needing that much contact from me. As they each left for college, they knew I was always only a phone call away, but they also realized that it was their time to make decisions and choices because I was not "going to college" with them.
Because we are so connected with cell phones, and other ways of instant communication, children tend to rely more heavily on their parents today than in previous times. This book is a MUST READ for every parent of a college bound student because it offers sound advice when considering appropriate boundaries for the amount of involvement parents should take.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bratwurst and Back to School

Today is Bratwurst Day-so celebrate!
Once the weather turns colder and I am not able to use my grill, I like to cook brats in the oven. They turn out (almost) as great as on the grill!
Preheat your oven to 350.
Grease a 9x13" baking pan. Add a package of brats (single layer).
Pour 1/2 can beer (or 1/4-1/2 c. water) over brats.
Bake for about 45-50 minutes. Turn half way through cooking.
They brown up nicely and go great on Packer Game Days, when it's too cold to "tailgate" outside before the game!

It's hard to believe that kids will be heading back to school in just a few weeks. We always celebrated with a "end-of-summer" party at our house.
My children would invite a few friends, we'd have special summertime foods, play some games, turn on the sprinkler and decorate folders or make book covers. The kids always had fun and it was a great way to end the summer. Do you have any first day of school traditions? Here are a few thought-starters or things you might like to try:

  • Make something special for breakfast. How about homemade apple pie or another fun, family favorite? Only for the first day!

  • Let them each select their own backpack and take a picture. Over the years you will have captured their interests, personality and be able to mark that milestone in their lives that might otherwise go unknown

  • Fill a jar with 30 pieces of candy and use as a countdown. Your child will be able to see, as he/she gets to select one piece each day, that the first day of school is getting closer and closer.

  • Pack a note with a loving messgage, joke or drawing into their backpack or lunchbox

  • Make a bracelet, necklace or braid a pair of shoelaces that they can wear on the first day

  • Decorate a backpack with a beaded key chain, pom-poms or a name tag

  • Hide a small treat, such as a sticker or small toy in their pocket

  • Make a special after school snack

And embrace the fact that they are venturing into new territory. They'll have many new and exciting experiences during the coming school year and you can watch, observe and encourage them.

We talked with Missy Chase Lapine, about her book "THE SNEAKY CHEF: SIMPLE STRATEGIES FOR HIDING HEALTHY FOODS IN KIDS' FAVORITE MEALS". Since it's almost time for kids to go back to school, why not pick up a copy of Missy's book and introduce your child to healthier eating the easy way. They won't even know that they've eaten sweet potatoes, or white beans in the blondie brownies! The book is more than just a cookbook, although it does cover recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, and snacks. Missy explains her philosophy about food, the reasons why certain foods are so good for you and gives the recipes for the purees that you can make ahead and freeze. Who knows, you may find that besides being good for the kids, it's great for everyone in the family!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Book Nook segments for this week

Here's a run down on what we'll be discussing in the Book Nook segment this week:

Monday, August 16th-Missy Chase Lapine, The Sneaky Chef, will be my guest at 10:05am. Missy is the author of the New York Times bestseller: The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals. She's also a member of Parenting Magazine's team of experts, the "Mom Squad". We'll find out great, creative ways to get kids to eat "healthy"-and her recipes can help each of us as well!

Tuesday, August 17th we'll be talking with Dr. Barbara Hofer about her book "The iConnected Parent: Staying Close to your Kids in College (and Beyond) While Letting Them Grow Up. I'm still reading the book and according to the back of the jacket-every parent of a college-bound high school student should read this book.

Friday, August 20th we'll be discussing back-to-school financial expenses. Pam Krueger, financial expert will be here to talk about budgeting tips and monetary advice for parents.
So tune in if you can and check back here later in the week for updates and summaries.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kids and Kool-Aid

By my calculations, summer vacation will soon be over. It's almost the middle of August and most schools start right after the Labor Day holiday. Time to think KIDS and back to school.

We talked with Dr. Susan Rupp, of Columbus Chiropractic today. She offered some guidelines for "Backpack Safety"...

  • The backpack SHOULD NOT be taller than the child's back

  • If purchasing a "one strap" type you need to be sure to alternate the way your child carries it. Dr. Rupp suggested carrying on left side on the way TO school and on the right side on the way FROM school.

  • Your child's backpack should weigh no more than 10-15% of his/her total body weight. For instance: if your child weighs 60 pounds the backpack should be no more than 6 pounds.

  • And be sure your child places the heaviest books/items closest to their back when loading the pack. This will allow the overall weight to be more evenly distributed.

Today is National Kool-Aid day and there will be big celebrations in Hastings, Nebraska, the birthplace of Kool-Aid. There will be big name entertainment and the world's largest Kool-Aid stand (22 flavors!). Edwin Perkins invented the powdered drink mix when he was about 12-13 years old, in his mother's kitchen. (1927). The six original flavors were: strawberry, cherry, lemon-lime, grape, orange and raspberry. The entire family got involved in the business and during the depression the business really took off as families could purchase a packet for $ .10 and enjoy a pitcher full of refreshment. In 1931, Edwin moved the business to Chicago and partnered with Fred Schmitt from Milwaukee. In 1953 the business was sold to General Foods which in turn was bought out by Kraft Foods in the early 1970's.

The "smiley faced" pitcher advertising logo was developed in 1954 because the art director of the advertising campaign was working from home in New York in January and watched his young son draw smiley faced patterns on a frosted window pane! In 1975, "Pitcher Man" became "Kool-Aid Man" when he was given arms and legs.

Over 500 million gallons of Kool-Aid are consumed around the world each year!!!

Here are a couple of fun Kool-Aid recipes:

Kool-Aid Blocks
6 pkg. Knox unflavored gelatin
3 pkg. Kool-Aid, any flavor
1 ½ c. sugar
4 c. hot water
Mix all ingredients until thoroughly dissolved. Pour into 9x13” pan. Chill until firm and cut into 1” or 2” squares.

Kool-Aid Pie
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
36 vanilla wafers
1 c. sugar
1 (0.13 oz.) pkg. unsweetened lemon-lime flavored drink mix
Whipped topping
Pour milk into small metal or glass mixing bowl. Add beaters to the bowl. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Coat a 9” pie plate with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom and sides of plate with wafers. Beat milk until soft peaks form. Add sugar and drink mix; beat until thoroughly mixed. Spoon over wafers; freeze for at least 4 hours. Garnish with whipped topping, if desired.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Careers and Creamscicles

Today is Creamsicle Day
I remember buying orange ones from the corner grocery store as I was growing up. On a hot summer day, there was nothing better!
The word "creamsicle" is a brand name-owned by Unilever, however the name has come to describe any ice cream snack (homemade or store bought) that has a vanilla ice cream center. Orange used to be the only flavor available but now you'll find blue raspberry, lime, grape and raspberry. They also are available in 100 Calorie Bars, Low Fat, No Sugar Added and Sugar Free Bars. Can't you almost taste one right now?
If you're craving a creamsicle here is a way to make your own!

Frozen Orange Creamsicle
2 small pkg. sugar free orange JELL-O®
2 packets Splenda®, NutraSweet® or Sweet “N Low®
1 c. heavy cream
2 c. boiling water
1 c. crushed ice
Add 2 c. boiling water to JELL-O & mix as package directs. Mix well until fully dissolved. Add crushed ice & stir to melt ice and cool mixture. Add sweetener & heavy cream. Mix well. Pour into individual cups or freezer bowl. Chill until firm. (You can also use freezer pop holders).

Orange Creamsicle Smoothie
1 ½ c. vanilla ice cream
1 c. mandarin orange sections, fresh or canned
½ c. heavy cream or milk
2 Tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Smoothie may be thin. If thicker texture is desired add more ice cream or frozen concentrate.


Career Intuitive-Sue Frederick was my guest on today's show. She is the author of "I CAN SEE YOUR DREAM JOB". We always have a great time with Sue. We took calls from listeners and based on their birthdate, Sue gave career advice and their birthpath number. If you'd like more information, you get pick up a copy of her book, or visit her website: I'm a "22". Check it out. It's facinating and fun!

Monday, August 9, 2010

M & C and Mosquitos

By M & C, I mean macaroni and cheese.
And who doesn't love this great comfort food? Do you like the "homemade variety", the "blue box" (this was the only kind my children would eat!) or do you like to mix mac and cheese with other add-in?

A recent study found that lots of people like to think "outside the box" and came up with other additions to this basic meal. The top 10 "add-ins" are as follows:
1. Tuna
2. Extra Cheese
3. Tomatoes
4. Ground Beef
5. Diced Ham
6. Bacon/Bacon Bits
7. Peas
8. Broccoli
9. Hot Dogs
10. Cream of Mushroom soup

You might like to get even more creative and add sliced green onions and a dash of mustard- or sour cream (instead of milk), salsa, extra cheese and leftover taco meat. Do you have a favorite add-in? If you haven't made any mac and cheese in a while, maybe it's time to break out a box-get creative and make it special with these or other combinations....

We talked about the growing mosquito population and how they are so aggravating! One of my listeners called in this solution to keep them away from your yard:
1 capful lemon-scented dish detergent
1 capful lemon-scented ammonia
1 capful mint mouthwash
Place all ingredients in an "ortho-type" bottle, attach it to your hose and spray the yard until all solution is gone.

"Bounce" dryer sheets also work well to keep mosquitos away. Just rub sheet on exposed skin. You can also keep a sheet tucked in your sock or pocket.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Mustard and More...

The first Saturday in August is always National Mustard Day. (It was created back in 1991 by the National Mustard Museum). There will be big celebrations in Middleton, Wisconsin because it is the NEW home of the National Mustard Museum. The museum had been housed in Mount Horeb, just a little south of Madison for many years, and recently relocated to Middleton.
Did you know that the museum features an extensive collection of over 5000 jars, bottles and tubes from each of our 50 states and from more than 60 countries worldwide?

It also boasts a gift shop and gourmet food emporium. You can check it out at

I also found out some interesting bits of Mustard Trivia:
· More than 700 million pounds of mustard are consumed worldwide each year.
· Mustard is the second most-used spice in the United States. (Peppercorns come in at #1)
· In one year at New York’s Yankee Stadium more than 1600 gallons plus 2,000,000 individual packets of mustard are consumed
· Pope John Paul the XXII was so fond of mustard that he created a new Vatican position-grand moutardier du pape (grand mustard-maker to the pope)
· The ancient Chinese considered mustard an aphrodisiacGerm lore advises a bride to sew mustard seeds into the hem of her wedding dress to assure her dominance of the household.

Mustard has never been my favorite condiment-give me ketchup and onions on hot dogs, brats and burgers! However, I am learning to appreciate its flavor and pungency because I do like some types of honey mustard dipping sauce and use when cooking.

We also talked about the best way to preserve fresh dill. If you have an overabundance in your garden, or you're going to stop at a farmers market this weekend here are a few long term storage tips. Just remember that freezing dill will cause it to become limp, however it will still maintain its flavor. Here's how to freeze fresh dill:
1. Rinse whole sprigs of fresh dill in cool water to remove all dirt and grit. Shake off excess water and spin dry or pat between layers of paper towels to remove as much surface moisture as possible.
2. Trim off long stem ends, leaving only an inch or so attached to the feathery foliage. Place a couple of sprigs together inside a resealable plastic freezer storage bag. Gently press out all air and seal. If freezing for along period of time, double-bag the dill to help prevent freezer burn from drying it out.
3. Store bag flat in the freezer, on top of the other foods so that it won’t be crushed. When you need fresh dill, simply remove a sprig and snip, while still frozen, directly into the mixing bowl or saucepan, using a pair of kitchen shears. Do not allow to thaw. (Freezing causes dill to become limp but it will still maintain its flavor.


I learned a new cooking term: Creme Fraiche. It means fresh cream and is a dairy product similar to sour cream, but not quite as sour. Crème fraiche is particularly useful in finishing sauces in French cooking because it does not curdle and is traditional to France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia.You can purchase it in the dairy section of your favorite grocery store or you can make your own if you come across it in a recipe anytime soon. Here's how:

Combine 1 c. heavy cream with 1 c. sour cream in a glass bowl. Place in a warm place and let stand 12-24 hours, until thickened. Stir and refrigerate for another 24-36 hours before using. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"Sandwiches" and Simplifying

August is National Sandwich Month and August 2nd was Ice Cream Sandwich Day. Of course you know that ice cream sandwiches are frozen desserts composed of a layer of ice cream (any flavor) "sandwiched" between two cookies or slices of cake.
In the United States, a slice of ice cream, (commonly vanilla), sits between two rectangular wafers, usually chocolate. And alternatives to the chocolate wafer are usually chocolate chip cookies.
In Australia, they're called "Giant Sandwiches" or "Monaco Bar"
In Scotland they are known as "sliders"-usually served as vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two rectangle wafers.
In Singapore, common flavors often include: Ripple, Red Bean, Yam, Sweet Corn, Honeydew, Peppermint, Chocolate and Chocolate Chip and is known as "wafer" ice cream
In Ireland, England and Wales an ice cream wafer, consisting of a small block of ice cream between two rectangular wafer biscuits was a popular alternative to the ice cream cone up until the 1970's. Since then it has declined and is now rarely seen.

It is "SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE" week. What can you do to de-stress and make your life easier? Why not...
  • Set a designated time (or couple of times) during each day to check your email. Reading and replying to email wastes a lot of time!
  • Unsubscribe to email newsletters, ads, etc. Keep only those that you read and are really of interest to you.
  • Take a long relaxing bath: candles, scented oil, your favorite music and put your worries away for about 30 minutes. You'll feel refreshed, relaxed and will sleep much better. Pencil it into your calendar if you need to.
  • Get a sitter. Especially if you work from home. What could you do with an extra 3-6 hours/week?
  • Purge your regular mail on a daily basis. Toss/shred anything that is junk mail, place items that need to be filed in one bin or basket and bills needing to be paid in another. You'll be much more organized when it comes time to pay bills.
  • Make a list at the END of the day for tomorrow. You won't need to waste time in the morning figuring out what you need to do first.

Have you got any other ideas? Feel free to share......

I spoke with Dr. Fred Mandell, author of BECOMING A LIFE CHANGE ARTIST: SEVEN CREATIVE SKILLS THAT CAN TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE". He co-wrote the book with Kathleen Jordan and it is for anyone looking for a new spark in life, a path toward reinvention or anyone in the midst of transition. The book takes a unique approach to becoming a life change artist by studying famous artists throughout history. Dr. Mandell also discusses our creativity. I always thought that you were born with the creative talent to draw, paint, etc. However, this isn't really the case.

Creativity is actually the act of bringin into existence something that did not exist before.

The book also talks about the 7 key skills that you need in order to make a life transition: Preparation, Seeing, Using Context, Embracing Uncertainty, Taking Risks, Collaborating and Applying Discipline and he relates these principles to the lives and characteristics of Picasso, Monet, Rembrandt and others. A facinating look at making a change... check it out.