Saturday, June 29, 2013

To cool or not to cool?

We gather eggs everyday. The children bring them in, I wash them, place them in an egg container, and straight to the frige they go. I try to keep the containers dated so we know how old the egg is that I am feeding my family. As a responsible American mom, I try to take sterile care in matters of food.

Recently, while watching Downton Abbey (my obsession de jour), I caught a glimpse of the kitchen during an episode with Daisy and Mrs. Patmore preparing breakfast. In the frame, I noticed that in the center of the island, they have an egg keeper. Eggs, out in the open, room temperature. Granted, this period program is set in the early 1900's. Still, the image caused me to explore the necessity of egg refrigeration.

In the US, most of us buy refrigerated, store bought eggs. We naturally assume that eggs are supposed to be refrigerated. However, in most countries around the world, it is very common - even today, to purchase unrefrigerated eggs at the grocery.

I asked my Columbian friend about her eggsperience growing up in Columbia.

Well maybe it is fine for people in other countries to leave their eggs room temp. But this is AMEEERca. The USDA describes our American egg processing in detail. This grading manual offers us more than we ever wanted to know about the eggs we purchase from the grocery.

But wait, eggs sold at The Farmers Market are often sold unrefrigerated. So what's the deal?

There is a forum I frequent over at Many yard bird aficionados agree that it is not necessary to refrigerate eggs. To clarify - farm to table eggs. One farmer said he actually leaves the eggs out on the counter for a month before packaging them and putting them in the fridge! Many contend that the reason the process set forth by USDA, requires egg refrigeration, is because the washing/sterilization of the egg damages the cuticle, a protective mucoprotein layer on the egg shell which keeps out contaminating micro-organisms and bacteria.

This whole process led me to an experiment.
Two weeks ago, I gathered eggs for two days. I have left these eggs on my kitchen countertop.

Yesterday and today, I have cooked and eaten the room temp eggs.

Captains log:
Cooked unrefrigerated eggs at 11:15am, June 28th 2013, and again at 9am, June 29th 2013. If I were to contract salmonella, it would show up within 12-72 hours after infection. It would last from 4-7 days.

I have not yet fed the eggs to my children, and certainly not my husband, who won't even eat the refrigerated ones after a week. Little does he know that store bought eggs are often a month old by the time they get to the shelf!

For now, I will continue testing this theory on myself. A royal food taster, so to speak. I will update in a week or so, assuming I am still alive.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Give me a commercial break!

One of my parenting goals, is to raise my children under an umbrella of gender equality. I want my sons to grow up in a world where women and men conduct themselves with mutuality and respect. I want my daughter to understand that she can strive for anything she dreams up - even if she does not have a penis. I have been intentional about the toys they play with and the content of the movies and TV shows they watch. I stand guard against anything that sexually objectifies women. I steer clear of shows that portray women as helpless or weak.

The children and I watch Netflix mostly, and they see lots of adventure shows and documentaries, as well as animated action and fantasy. I love Netflix, because we enjoy a commercial-free viewing experience. There are a few TV shows however, that I watch on Hulu: Modern Family, CSI, Nikita, and Survivor (which the children and I watch together). I understand that paid advertisements are what allow me to have the free HULU service, I appreciate that. But last night alone, I witnessed over and over, commercials in which women were powerless and dependent.

These two specifically, make my skin crawl.

In this AXE commercial, the runner throws a race because a guy says, "hey."

In this car commercial, the driver fantasizes about all the sexy women who will pine for him if he drives an Acura.

The third one I saw repeatedly is not quite as offensive, but I'm curious why Verizon chose the "Guy rescues technologically exasperated, pretty girl" angle. It's what sells, I suppose.

So many other titillating commercials to choose from (not necessarily that I have seen on Hulu - but various screen shots that accentuate my point).

I am aware that there are so many human rights issues to combat. This one just seems to hit me in square in the face day after day as I guide my children. Are you a parent? Have you had similar experiences? What are some ways you deal with it?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Best Laundry Detergent EVER!

When we moved to Alabama 2 years ago, my washer/dryer relocated to the basement. Because of the humidity, I have had a difficult time keeping my laundry from smelling musty. I have tried so many different products (homemade and store bought)!
Finally, I have settled on this THREE INGREDIENT DETERGENT.

1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
1 bar grated Fels Naptha laundry soap

I use 1/3 of a cup per each load, which is probably over-kill, but my laundry smells amazing. Actually, there is hardly any smell at all. My husband used it for the first time on his laundry last week. I was curious what his opinion would be because he is very sensitive to smell. He called me downstairs and over to his hanging shirts. "Smell this and tell me what you smell...." As I leaned in to take a wiff, he exclaimed, "NOTHING! You smell Nothing! This stuff is so awesome!"

At last, I have a simple to make, HE, phosphate free detergent that really gets the laundry clean and deodorized. And the best part about it, is that it literally costs PENNIES per load.

A shout out to, where I found this recipe.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Date your eggs!

I don't know about your chickens, but mine have been laying like crazy this summer. I actually sold 7 hens because I was getting over-run with eggs! It's a great problem to have. And I enjoy dispersing dozens among friends.

When the eggs are coming in faster than a teenage halloween prank, it's easy to lose track of when they were laid.
Never fear, a washable marker is here! An eggcellent solution to stop the confusion is simply - to take a few minutes and date them. The washable kid markers are non-toxic so they won't harm the egg. If you don't want to mark the actual egg, you can just mark your carton as you fill it up. It doesn't take long, but for me it's been super helpful. My city-man husband appreciates it too because he get's a little nervous when he sees 6 dozen eggs sitting in the fridge!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer Screen Time

I am loving our summer system for allowing the children on screens. Typically, we spend a lot of time at the pool during the summer. The first 2 weeks, we got into a habit where as soon as the children walked in the door, they immediately got on their iPads... or turned on Netflix... or fired up the Wii. Before I knew it, 3 hours had passed by the time we sat down for dinner!

Haaeeeelll no. That ain't happnin'.

I called a meeting in the school room, and presented the plan.

While I do want you all to have a very relaxing and fun summer, I do need to put a boundary on the amount of screen time each of you get. Henceforth! One hour of screens will cost you one hour of school work. You give me an hour of work, I give you an hour of screens. This can be reading (from the approved summer reading list), Spanish, handwriting, review material from last year, or math. Expecting fuss and protest, I stood there in silence while they stared back at me. After a few seconds, the middle one replied, "Ok." Then they all ran off.

"That went better than I expected", I thought.

A few minutes later, the older two re-entered the room with a list of questions.

1. So what is the limit per day?
~No limit.
2. Are there roll-over minutes if we don't cash in the work minutes each day?
~Yes you are allowed rollover minutes.
3. How are you going to keep track of this?
~Good question. Here is the official clipboard I will use to document your work time and screen time.
4. Where is the approved reading list?
~Approved reading list is underneath the pad on the clipboard.
5. Can we do certain things together to save time?
~You mean teamwork? Synergy? Community? Of course. In fact, I would encourage that.

So far the system has worked beautifully! The children get home from the pool and walk straight to the school room and get out their books! They have been working together and encouraging one another. They have been reading together and doing math flashcards. WOW! I don't get this kind of participation during the school year!

This has me thinking - perhaps this will remain our screen-time reward system all year long....