Category Archives: Finds

Tall Tales by Karen Day

capability:mom on tall tales by karen daySo on with my Young Adult fiction read-a-thon. Just read Tall Tales by Karen Day – – her first novel and it was wonderful.  Here is a summary:

Meg has a secret…actually it is the family’s secret. Her father is an alcoholic.  Meg makes up elaborate stories so that people won’t come over and set him off or see him drunk.  The whole family has learned to walk on eggshells around him and they have moved many times to accommodate his inability to stay sober and engaged on the job. No surprise, his father was an alcoholic, too, and he was physically and verbally abused as a child. Continue reading

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Filed under Authors, books, Books and More, Feed your head, soul, self, Finds, mom blogs, young adult fiction

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes

What am I going to do with all of these tomatoes?

capability mm to fields of greens

Fields of Greens - Annie Somerville

Well, I would eat them plain (with salt is heaven) but I think I need to share with the other members of my family who won’t eat them that way. Continue reading

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Filed under dinners, Feed your head, soul, self, Finds, Food, healthy, mom blogs

When Life gives you limes instead of lemons…make limeade – more from Nigella

Not as easy as her Cloudy Lemonade but as delicious! From Nigella Lawson

Mint and Lime cool aid

  • 8 limes (1 cup juice)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • bunch fresh mint, some sprigs reserved for pitcher later
  • 5 cups water
  • ice cubes.

Remove zest of 4 of the limes using a veg peeler or a zester and put this along with the sugar, mint, and 1 cup of the water into a saucepan.  Bring this to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar.  Let this mixture simmer in pan for 5 minutes after boil.  Cool, strain into pitcher.  Squeeze limes to make 1 cup plus 2 tbls of juice then add water and sugar mixture into pitcher.  Add ice cubes and springs of mint.

Looks like I will have another messy kitchen today! Continue reading

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Filed under Feed your head, soul, self, Finds, Food, mom blogs

NPR – Nigella Lawson – Summer Fresh recipes

My dear husband heard this on NPR early this morning and thought I would like it and wrote me a note about it so I could find it…I just returned Pragmatic Mom’s Nigella Lawson cookbooks to her and saw one at Whole Foods last night so some more synchronicity…

Here is the link – I would pretty it up but I am trying to make anti-harvest muffins – not hers. Ina’s..

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129100059 (short 7 minutes –  on NPR today) Cloudy lemonade which sounds practically perfect for a day like today.

Nigella’s latest cookbook is Nigella FreshNigella Fresh

Update:

I do love NPR!! They did not have the recipes up this morning but they do now – Here: Continue reading

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Filed under Feed your head, soul, self, Finds, Food, healthy, mom blogs, recipes - tried and true

Epic Fail

That is what we are looking at  here –  an epic fail (and thank you to my friend, A, who named it for me).

Why? What? Okay, car is dying (but still trade-in-able), two not so old (under 3 years – Dell, thanks for asking) computers have eased into a slow non-functioning spiral of death (I had the word obsolescence here but changed it to death – it is just that they are lemons…the technology should not be obsolete after 3 years nor should the functionality), my phone battery is not holding a charge, the dishwasher works but only if I throw a cup of water into it before running it, the vacuum is pretty much a goner, two burners on the stove make a weird clicking noise when used so I don’t use them) and last night at around three am I heard a really horrible mechanical groan right before the a/c shut off – I waited (like I could sleep after that anyway) and it went back on, thankfully because that would be a tipping point…in my mental health state.

Phew, or have I breathed a sigh of relief too soon?

Okay – I pledge to buy a vacuum today – Check! Vacuum purchased -at Mr Sweeper in Waltham – a very nice, local shop that sells and repairs vacuums…I had hoped that ours could be saved…it could but it was not worth it.

I pledge to look at computers today –Umm…today? On-line – okay, store? Augh. We went to Micro Center in Cambridge on Saturday (their tagline should be “Where the geeks go” – no hate mail, please – I like geeks…but seriously, 99 percent of customers were male and one that I talked to  – he was a computer consultant  – knew so much about the Apple line (as in “…the  G5 – does yours have that loud fan problem?”) that I should have had him tell me which one to get and just have been done with it). The salesmen were nice and very knowledgeable.  We worked with Serge who was very helpful and I suspect has a PhD in Physics or something. It looks like Best Buy has similar products (looking at a PC laptop – down to Sony or Toshiba for brands) but their prices do not include Microsoft Office which adds $100 or more to the price. My head is swimming in ghz, RAM, and GB and as soon as I choose a computer I will swiftly download this knowledge from my brain so it can hold on to more important stuff like where I left my keys.



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Filed under Creative outlets, Feed your head, soul, self, home

Inbox reminders from the library and Ten Marks and a good, no a great, read from Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman Indigo at capabilitymom.comIf your email in-box is anything like mine, it is cluttered with a random assortment of things.  While I generally like clutter (sorry, honey) my in-box is someplace I have decided to clean up (again, sorry, honey, not the physical one over the computer that even as I type this threatens to overflow – potentially causing injury, but I digress).

Right now the electronic version has quite a few sales notices (mostly Old Navy and Gap – I did finally unsubscribe to a ton of things, it was time-consuming but worth it) and news alerts that I like to get (even if I don’t always click on the link) and notes from friends and some blogs I subscribe to (yes, it is free and lets you know when a blog you like has been updated). You can subscribe to this site, too… just type in your email address in the sidebar.

So today, nice.  My in-box had a note from a friend, a blog update from Coffee Shop Bloggers, a library reminder that two books are due in two days and a reminder from Ten Marks that one of my daughters has some worksheets to finish up. Nice touch, Ten Marks!  I didn’t realize that I would get a follow-up email (it even includes a reminder of the sign-in code).  Super for the busy parent (and we are all busy – even in summer) and a nice matter-of-fact way for you to prompt your child to look at the other worksheets. (You know…”I just got an email from Ten Marks…” is much better than “Did you do your math worksheets?”)

So book reviews (see – I do eventually get back around to topics) and, no, I wasn’t asked to do this one – usually they are books I just have to share.  I do like the YA and I picked up this book last night and didn’t put it down until I was finished. Fortunately for my family (who would do the laundry, make dinner- oh, we did have take-out …but still), it is a short but beautiful read.

Indigo by Alice Hoffman for Scholastic. (Go to her website for a look at all of the other books she has written- many favorites)

Intense, moving and lovely.  A young girl, Martha Glimmer (her mother has recently died in that very YA way), and her two best friends, Eli and Trevor, (known to one and all as Eel and Trout because they are different in a charming, magical way – think webbed fingers and toes and a propensity for salt water and fish) decide to run away from their small landlocked town to the ocean. I actually stopped reading at one point because of this…

“…What mattered was that Trout McGill was the one person aside from her mother who believed that Martha would someday leave Oak Grove, and that no matter how tall she was, or how uncomfortable with herself, she would be a dancer.  He believed in dreams, in the endings that people told you could never happen, in disappointments reversed and luck that lasted.”

Yeah, so you should read it. Great pre-teen and teen book – one of two off-spring has read it – this morning – a very fast but great read.

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Filed under Authors, books, Books and More, Feed your head, soul, self, library, young adult fiction

Summer Brain Drain…Summer Slide… (whatever you call it)…how to stop it

capability mom ten marksWe are just into the last month of summer – long, hot days at the beach or pool, still some summer camp and here in the NorthEast, we don’t start school until after Labor Day and, even if your children don’t agree, they are losing some math skills. How do I know this? Because I read about an on-line math tutoring program called Ten Marks the other day and it got me thinking…hush, it happens.

From an article in Boston.com: In a study released in June, the Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore found that students typically lose one to two months of reading and math skills during summer break, and that teachers often spend up to six weeks reviewing topics already covered. Yikes.

Here is a link to a nicely formatted page that highlights the research from the National Association for Summer Learning (yes, there is such a thing).

So I have a math packet for one child (courtesy of her teacher) and she has been faithfully working at it but I do need to give a boost to my younger child in fractions. I contacted TenMarks and the company, a local (Newton) based organization let me try it (so I could write about it here) but even the demo (take a test drive) on the site is nice and a good representation of the program.

So here is what happened –

I got an email with sign-in information and telling me (the parent) about the weekly lessons. My children (who are both solid math students but not making up math problem sets for each other on long car rides – okay, or anywhere else) found the site easy to navigate and easy to work on the topics they wanted (er, I wanted them) to highlight.

Both logged on with a code scribbled on piece of paper (I, lazy summer mom, gave them the codes to get into the site and did not help, I mean, hover) and both were able to finish the worksheets with relative ease (meaning the problems were not out of their knowledge base but challenging).

Here is why I like it – If a problem is confusing, there are helpful hints and if the student is still stuck, there is a video that walks through the problem.  An interesting part of the program allows the student to go back over their work and get all the problems right – good reinforcement of the math concepts and nice (for the confidence) to get all 10 out of 10 problems correct.

As far as confidence and competency and math – it is obviously important for everyone but it has been shown that girls self-select out of math (even if they are good at it) in the upper elementary grades (source – here) and that 50% of all jobs are math-based – I don’t know where I got that statistic but here are some cool jobs that need math). Now I do not care if they don’t want to be math majors in college, but I do care if they limit their options in general.

TenMarks is running a special summer package now and click here to find out more about it and stop the brain drain, well, at least for the children. No promises for parents.

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Filed under Books and More, family Activities, Feed your head, soul, self, good to know, math games, Parents and Kids