It turns out my family readers DO have burning questions for Justice Girl – so it looks like we’ll keep the feature, on a monthly basis. Here we go…
- From Kari: Just how mighty IS the Susquehanna?
Short answer? Very. Longer answer? At the point of downtown Harrisburg (the river runs from New York, into the Chesapeake Bay), the river is almost a mile wide. It provides 50% of the fresh water supply to the bay, and is 444 miles long. If that doesn’t impress you, it has religious importance that is interesting to me, growing up as a member of the LDS church: somewhere along that 444 miles (probably somewhere in New York?) is the location where Joseph Smith Jr. and Oliver Cowdry baptized each other, after being visited by the resurrected John The Baptist. And if THAT doesn’t impress you, then you just need to see it in person. It’s incredibly beautiful….and mighty.
- From Maiken: What was the present the sellers (of our new house) sent Ted away with for the charming Miss Ella?
Stickers. They also left stickers for her in the house, after they moved out. And rubber duckies, a book, and a stuffed dog that, when you ask her what its name is, she says, “Dog From Susan and John.”
- And Maiken again: Do you really still cheer for the Packers?
Yes. I take my wedding vows seriously! Tom watched all the games this past season. I watched most of them – and enjoyed it, although not as much as when Brett Favre was on the team. He looks really, really good in those tight pants.
- And…let’s call her, “Mikey,” for variety’s sake: How did you teach Ella her the letters in her name? What are your superb teaching methods that succeed in the face of such a stubborn Huntsman child?! If I move to Harrisburg will you give me some mom/healthy eating/organization lessons? Are you still teaching Ella sign language?
Okay! Curious person, aren’t you? As far as the healthy eating lessons, I’ll address that in the next question. In regards to Ella – we do still work on sign language, but not as much as we used to because they don’t show Signing Time on PBS out here. I’m hoping to get her the videos for her birthday, and in the meantime, we use the ones we know. As far as how we teach her things? I don’t know that there’s anything special we’re doing, except making sure we have one-on-one time with her every day. We read, a lot – every single day – I think that helps. We also have just automatically spent our time with her showing her new things. When we draw on her magna-doodle, we do letters, shapes and animals. When she takes a bath, I talk about the shapes and colors of her toys, and we sing songs. Mostly though, it’s just Ella. She’s got a great memory (pretty sure that came from Tom) and she enjoys learning. And while we plan on doing all of these things with Sophie, when she gets here, you never know if she’ll retain it, or even have the desire to learn as much as Ella does. So in the end, I’m not sure what advice I can give except to spend time with your kids, and be consistent.
Also, just so you don’t think I’m making her sit down for hours on end, practicing her math skills – she watches TV too. Sesame Street, Yo Gabba Gabba, Blues Clues…all shows that are fun and educational.
- From Mom: I’m really impressed with how you and Tom lost weight and have kept it off—pregnancy weight doesn’t count! How about sharing a good recipe now and then? I’m sure I’m not the only one interested.
I’d be happy to share. I can also tell you that our biggest success has come in small lifestyle changes. Portion sizes, and substitutions (or just plain giving up certain things) have made a big difference. We’ve made a huge decrease in the amount of junk we keep in the house. We haven’t bought a bag of potato chips in probably 2 years – instead, we eat tortilla chips and salsa (and guacamole) – it ends up being more filling and better for you. Tom has pretty much cut mayo out of his diet (I don’t like it anyway), we only buy light salad dressings, we eat better pasta (my favorite is the Barilla Plus – it has fiber and lots of protein), I make brownies once every few months, instead of once every other week – things like that. Also, once you have been on the Weight Watchers program, you know what to look for on the nutrition labels, and that helps. If you don’t have the desire to do a weight program, I would really recommend getting the Eat This, Not That book(s). They are simply guides to what the best choice is for a type of food, not a diet plan. I have the original book, and am planning on getting the Supermarket Survival version.
In regards to the actual question of sharing recipes – I’ll pick out a few favorites and post them soon, along with any changes I’ve made, and why. I’m a big fan of fast, easy cooking, and I’d love to receive any favorite recipes, in return.
Do you have a burning question for JG? E-mail me at email@example.com.