Monday, June 8, 2009

Darragh Doiron

Summer time on your hands? Make it family time

Dennis, an 11-year-old guest to my home, excitedly told how his father helped inspire him to write letters to people in the news. He hadn’t even read “Giving is Living: 101 Ways to Practice Effortless Generosity.”
Sister authors Marnie and Tisha Howard begin with a potentially life-changing quote from someone else:
“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: Kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” — Mother Teresa
Pages of ideas include generous acts to do as a family, such as:
• Write a letter to a distant relative.
• Volunteer for a community project.
• Create and give a photo album to a beloved grandparent.
• Share household chores willingly. Give Mom or Dad a break.
Here’s news on more family stuff:

Parent perils
With chapters titled “Another Call from School,” “The Eighth-Grade Prom” and “Are We There Yet,” Beth J. Harpaz has lived the stories of many American parents. But she sure can tell ‘em funny, with empathy and with a little lesson at the end.
She’s lived through teacher conferences, the real-or-imagined glares of other PTA moms and the fear of transforming from Terrible Mother to Lunatic Mother.
Other parents may get some summer reading relief in her book, “13 is the new 18: And Other Things My Children Taught Me While I Was Having a Nervous Breakdown Being Their Mother.

Dads cut up on the grill
Woe to the family member who puts my kitchen shears in the drawer or dishwasher where I can’t find them. They need to be at the ready, because I use them as least as often as my favorite knife. Cutco bills itself as “The World’s Finest Cutlery” and is proud of its Super Shears advertising that “They’re called SUPER for a reason.” There’s no gimmick here, like a crazy curved pair I once got to chop salad right in the bowl. Super Shears’s forged blades come apart for cleaning and could be just what Dad needs to cut up chicken at the grill site or snip garden herbs for backyard cookery. If dad or mom spies a Cutco catalogue, the wish list will grow. There are some mighty tempting basic and specialty items that make cooking fun.
• Grill note: McCormick has new bottles of 30-minute marinades in Signature Smokehouse and Buffalo BBQ. I tried the buffalo straight up on eggs and chips with no complaints. I imagine using it the proper way is a perk. I sprinkled the dry contents of the new Mojito Lime marinade on frozen corn and it was peachy. Hawaiian Luau marinade is also new.

Think inside the cube
Dads who formed their cultural relevance in the ‘80s know the Rubik’s Cube. Rubik’s Revolution Titanium Edition is for their kids. Those days may or may not get into this talking, flashing cube. I liked it much more than the headache-triggering original; my daughter nabs high score on any of the six games in the cube; her dad says it just makes him want his original cube from high school.
My fave is the easiest. Play it in the dark: punch the color of light that is glowing at that moment. We think the game makes some weird pig snorts as a count-down. Even though you aren’t moving the walls of the cube, it still flies around in your hand as you play the games, just like the original.

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