Archive for the ‘Relaxing’ Category

7 Moments with Bruce Springsteen

September 22nd, 2009 by Jane


Today is the 60th birthday of my personal poet, Bruce Springsteen. Yes, he is 60-damn-years-old and he looks better than ever, in my opinion. But more important, he sounds great and his songwriting is as fresh, vibrant and relevant as it was over 35 years ago when he first came on the rock & roll scene. I have my high school boyfriend to thank for introducing me to his music way back in the ’80’s. Luckily I married someone who is as big a fan of the Boss as I am, because that would have been a deal breaker.

Bruce Springsteen is a musician who has grown. I wish for everyone to have a songwriter to follow all of your life. Especially one who will mature with you. It is a true gift and delight in my life for which I am very grateful.

I have been to not nearly enough of his concerts, but I remember each one vividly. I sat on the second row of his Tracks tour when my first daughter was four months old. I was breastfeeding her and I had never been away from her. I was recovering from food poisoning and had to put a Ziplock bag in my purse in case I threw up. I was that determined to go and it was completely worth it. His intensity and energy cauterized any germs that were left in my body and I was healed!

He doesn’t tell all the stories that he used to in his concerts. The Born in the U.S.A. concert was over 4 hours. His shows have the same atmosphere and side effects as a Southern tent revival. The music builds until you are in a crazed state, you find yourself standing up for 3 and half hours straight, eyes focused on the man in the center, you feel fevered. You start to feel like you want a shot of liquor or a deep kiss. And the Boss pushes you and all of the audience members until you are hoping he will just stop so you can rest your 40-year-old feet. He finally leaves the stage and you are spent: a wringing-wet-rag-of-a-person, still wanting more.

Don’t believe me? Spend some time with him. Thank you, Bruce Springsteen for giving me food for thought, a personal soundtrack and some fine memories for more than 25 years of my life. Happy Birthday, man! I have included some of his lesser known songs that are my favorites along with some interviews that you all will enjoy.


1. Proof of the Poetic
Listen, really listen to these words and tell me that is not poetry. I dare you.

2. Valentine’s Day
This one is for my friend Bob and his new little daughter, Norah.

3. When I’ve Lost Faith in the World…
I play this song over and over.  On a bad day, I feel restored, or at least that I can face the world a little bit. Of course, it helps if your name is Jane. The audio version is better than the video.

4. Let Your Light Shine
Watch and listen to Springsteen and the Sessions band remake the Sunday School classic, This Little Light of Mine. You will be uplifted!

5. Fresh Air
Terry Gross has a dream job and this interview with Springsteen proves why.

6. Nick Hornby Interviews Springsteen
Writer Nick Hornby finds out what is on Bruce’s playlist and a few more things.

7. Got 52 Minutes?
Watch the Boss open up to Charlie Rose. This interview was done in 1998, before 9-11, before the E Street Band got back together, before George W. Bush was president.

Need more? Try Rosalita, Because the Night (with Michael Stipe, love it!)  Blinded by the Light, Cadillac Ranch, For You, Growin’ Up, Hungry Heart, Better Days or Jungleland.

Want your heart broken? Listen to The Wrestler. I have to stop now, or I will be at this all day! For more song and concert information, visit brucespringsteen.net.

(If the above photo is yours, I will happily credit you! Just let me know who you are!)

7 Appropriate Tween Movies

September 21st, 2009 by Jane


Are you having trouble finding appropriate shows for your tween girls? Trying to find movies to watch that send a message of independence, intelligence and compassion for my girls is extremely challenging. I have slowly removed almost all of the Disney Channel series from their watchable list due to any of the following reasons:

a) girls in inappropriate attire

b) boys talking about girls in a derogatory or sexual way

c) characters being mean to each other without learning a lesson of compassion

I am not a prude and I think that we do not give children enough credit for being able to figure out how the world works. I am just trying to keep their childhoods progressing at a moderate pace. I recently told a friend in the film industry that if he wanted to rake in the dough, develop a show for tween girls that is shiny, fun, and smart that parents will like. He said that was a huge project and why didn’t I do it. Well, I might. Call me if you are interested.

In the meantime, check out these alternatives that we have been watching together as a family. I guarantee you everyone will be happy! All are available from Netflix-my favorite movie rental company.


1. Anne of Green Gables
I do not know how I missed these books as a child, but I regret it. This movie series is wonderful. Every movie in the trilogy is wonderful and my girls loved it.

2. A Little Princess
This 1995 version of the children’s classic is colorful and exciting. I read this book as a child and loved it, but this movie version goes further than my 9 year old imagination.

3. The Secret Garden
The 1993 version is my favorite. It might even inspire you to create a garden with your children.

4. Little Women
Susan Sarandon as Marmie-wonderful.

5. The Princess Bride
This is one of my top 10 favorite movies of all time. You haven’t seen this one? That’s inconceivable!

6. Ella Enchanted
This movie is proof that Hollywood film studios have made at least one movie in the last five  years that is smart, girl-as-her-own-hero, funny and entertaining. But I don’t know of any others, do you?

7. My Neighbor Totoro
This Japanese anime’ movie was a big hit at our neighborhood al fresco viewing last spring. Our neighbors hang a sail in the trees and project a movie onto it. We all bring popcorn, candy and blankets. I highly recommend this as a party idea. Even the boys liked it. In the fall, you could have hot cider, popcorn balls and s’mores. Invite me over!


7 Summer Songs

June 12th, 2009 by Jane


This morning, my favortie radio station was playing the Gershwin song Summertime. You know, “…and the living is easy” from the musical Porgy and Bess. So many people have recorded this song and it made me think of other summer songs that I like.  Let me hear about your songs of summer.

1. Margaritaville
It goes without saying that Jimmy Buffett’s music is the embodiment of endless summer. My aunt used to have a very stressful job as a social worker and she asked her son to record this song on a cassette so she could listen to a constant loop of it on her drive home. My other favorite Buffett songs are Cheeseburger in Paradise, Come Monday and his version of Van Morrison’s Brown-Eyed Girl.

2. Light Enough to Travel
I love this song by The Be Good Tanyas. Makes you want to pack a bag and head out. 

3. Friday I’m in Love

My husband is a big fan of The Cure and this song reminds me of when we used to go on dates. Aaaahhhh.

4. Heavenly Day
Pack a picnic, load this Patty Griffin song on your iPod and it will indeed be a heavenly day! 

5. Put Your Records On
I can just picture girls in cotton dresses dancing barefoot to this song by Corinne Bailey Ray. 

6. In These Shoes?
This song was huge in my neck of the woods a few summers back. Sadly, Kirsty MacColl died and we are left with just a taste of her fun dance music.


7. Thunder Road
You know I can’t talk about music without mentioning my personal poet, Bruce Springsteen. Thunder Road brings to mind graduation and dreams of the future. Might I also suggest Rosalita and Blinded by the Light for your summer playlist? Yes, Bruce wrote Blinded by the Light, but it was made famous by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. If you doubt the brilliance of the Boss, listen to his remix of it on his Live in Dublin disc. Can you think of any other artist who can do a remake of his own song and make it better? I didn’t think so.





7Of Welcomes You To Summer!

June 2nd, 2009 by Amy

 

Today is our children’s last day of school … which means it’s the first day of Summer!

 

Jane and I (did I mention we have five children between us?) are going into the coming months a bit like Thelma and Louise … holding hands, closing our eyes, and running into the sprinkler!

 

We love writing Seven Of and will be posting several times a week … instead of every day … so check back often! (Or follow our tweets on Twitter!)

 

Need a Seven Of fix in the meantime?

 

Be sure to peruse our archives!

 

We have well over 100 posts, so pour yourself a drink and enjoy the read!

 

When we aren’t keeping up with our respective children, we’ll be pursuing our other projects – Jane is a jewelry designer and Amy is a photographer.

 

Welcome to Summer!

 

XO Jane and Amy

7 Summer Plans

June 1st, 2009 by Jane

Summer vacation has officially started for two of my children and my 3rd grader will be out of school on Tuesday. We don’t have much planned yet for the summer, but I made a little list of things we are looking forward to doing. Or not doing!

1. Art Work
We have  a stockpile of art projects for the girls that we are going to work on, like a paint-your-own tea set. I am always overly ambitious the first week of summer break, so it is not surprising that I have considered doing a papier mache project with my kids and their friends. I am going to read up on the process on this site before we start. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

2. Clean Up, Clear Out and Straighten Up!
I am looking forward to some time to clean out the play room and girls’ bedrooms, and they are now old enough to help. I am starting a new game: Pick Up What You Want to Keep! What they are not willing to put away goes in a trash sack for Goodwill. Guerrilla Mommy Tactics: harsh, but effective.

3. Cooking Experiments
I bought this great book at a garage sale: Science Experiments You Can Eat and I am looking forward to working in the lah-borrrrr-ah-tory, uh, kitchen,  with the children. 

4. Exercise
It is brutally hot here in the summers, so we have joined our local recreation center so we can exercise as a family even on the doggiest days of summer.

5. Friendship Bread
Our sweet neighbor, Monica, brought over an Amish Friendship Bread starter last night. The girls have agreed to smush it every day until we can bake it in ten days. If you are not familiar with this yummy goodness, it is a sourdough “starter” for a sweet bread. The starter grows for ten days and then you split it and make bread with some of it and give the rest away to friends. Every ten days you get two loaves of bread and more starter to share. Good thing we are upping our fitness routine! 

6. Nothing
My favorite part of summer is knowing I do not have to get three pokey children somewhere everyday. I am a big believer in scheduled boredom for children. Boredom is a useful tool inteaching children to entertain themselves and to learn how to be alone. The time I have spent alone in my life is a rich source of my creativity. Admittedly, it is brutal to be in the same house with bored children, but I strongly believe in the practice and think of it as a gift to my children that they will appreciate later. I hope.

7. Water Park
We have three fountain parks within a 30 minute drive from where we live and I have made dates with several other families to meet there during the summer. Check out this one, the fountain is named after one of my favorite Texas dames, the smart and sassy Liz Carpenter

7 Bits Of Summertime Loveliness

May 29th, 2009 by Amy


According to a Swedish proverb, “A life without love is like a year without summer.” 

 

Looking forward to falling in love all over again!

 

1.  In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.  Albert Camus

2.  The summer night is like a perfection of thought.  Wallace Stevens

3.  Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.  Henry James

4.  Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.  John Lubbock

5.  In summer, the song sings itself.  William Carlos Williams

6.  Press close, bare-bosomed Night! Press close, magnetic,
nourishing Night!
Night of south winds!  Night of the large, few stars!
Still, nodding Night!  Mad, naked, Summer Night!
Walt Whitman

7.  Summer is the time when one sheds one’s tensions with one’s clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit.  A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all’s right with the world.  Ada Louise Huxtable

7 Books About Charming Mice

May 27th, 2009 by Amy

Is it just me or are mice some of the cutest protagonists ever?

 

1.  A Cricket In Times Square
(by George Selden)

Tucker Mouse falls for the music maker in Times Square.

 

2.  The Mouse And The Motorcycle (by Beverly Cleary)

A boy and a mouse join imaginations to bring a sputtering toy motorcycle roaring to life.

 

3.  Mrs. Frisby And The Rats of Nimh (by Robert C. O’Brien)

This widowed mouse heroine’s love for her child knows no bounds.

 

4.  Poppy (by Avi)

Fall in love this series about Poppy, the tiny deer mouse who dared to dance in the moonlight.

 

5.  Redwall (by Brian Jacques)

Magic swords, evil rat warlords, brave mice, and plenty of fighting make this series a rollicking adventure.

 

6.  Stuart Little (by EB White)

Born into a human family, Stuart sets out to find folks a little more mousey.

 

7.  The Tale Of Despereaux (by Kate DiCamillo)

The triumphant tale of a plucky little mouse looking for love.

7 Items on My Bedside Table

May 26th, 2009 by Jane

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My children live like squirrels. All three girls, but especially the twins, like to have their “stuff” all around them in their beds. On any random day you may find 25 stuffed animals, drawings, pens and paper, books, snacks and money in their beds or under their pillows. One of the twins slept with a Dora sprinkler in her bed for a year and a half. If you tried to move it, she turned into a howler monkey until you dropped it.

While my bedside is much neater and compartmentalized, I recently came to the conclusion that my little apples did not fall far from their maternal tree. Here is a list of  what I have next to my bed.

1. Books
I always read myself to sleep; I have ever since I learned to read. Right now, I am reading Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace by Ayelet Waldman. She says many things in this book that I have been thinking for years. I highly recommend it if you are a mother or are someone tring to understand mothers.

2. Ear Plugs
For the last decade, ear plugs have kept me married to my husband. He snores, loudly. And for the low, low price of $3.99, the cost of a package of 10 pair of ear plugs, I have been able to sleep in the same bed with him and wake up still loving him.

3. Lotion, Cuticle Cream and Lip Balm

I like to be hydrated while I am sleeping.

4. Love Notes
I keep the most special love notes from my children in my bedside table drawer.

5. Pen and Paper
I started keeping pen and a cute pad in my drawer several years ago. I must tell you it helps me get to sleep faster if I write down the things that are on my mind. Sometimes it is the start of the grocery list, or it is a plan for the next day, and other times I write down ideas for this blog.

6. Tennis Ball
I keep several sizes of rubber balls in my drawer as suggested by the myofascial massage therapist I saw last summer. If you have a pain in your back or elsewhere, lie on a ball for two minutes and see if it goes away. Works for me every time.

7. Wadded Tissues
I confess: I keep balls of tissue under my pillow. I am an allergist’s dream and sometimes I need a tissue during the night. Keep ‘em under your pillow and you don’t have to search in the dark! Follow this link to customize your own tissue box.

7 Entirely Random Thoughts From Erma Bombeck

May 20th, 2009 by Amy


Browsing through the public library recently I came across some well-worn Erma Bombeck books and vividly remembered being a kid and wishing I could grow up to have her job … living life, laughing a lot, and writing about it. Brilliant.

 

1.  Christmas Shopping: Wouldn’t it be wonderful to find one gift that you didn’t have to dust, that had to be used right away, that was practical, fit everyone, was personal and would be remembered for a long time? I penciled in “Gift certificate for a flu shot.”

 

2.  Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I’m taking with me when I go.

 

3.  People shop for a bathing suit with more care than they do a husband or wife. The rules are the same. Look for something you’ll feel comfortable wearing. Allow for room to grow.

 

4.  Before you try to keep up with the Joneses, be sure they’re not trying to keep up with you.

 

5.  Did you ever notice that the first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone?

 

6.  It is not until you become a mother that your judgment slowly turns to compassion and understanding.

 

7.  When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me”.

7 Things to Do When You Have a Sick Kiddo at Home

May 13th, 2009 by Jane


One of the twins has been home for a few days with a little cold. My week has gotten completely derailed and while it is tempting to count all of things I am NOT getting done, I am trying to make the most of it. Here are some things we are doing:

1. Cartoon-watching
We have been catching up on some shows we do not watch while she is at school. Did you know there is now an “Olivia” cartoon?

2. Cuddling
Sometimes, I do not have enough lap for 3 girls. But when I get to spend the day with just one child, we can cuddle to our heart’s content without hurting someone else’s feelings. 

3. Make Something Yummy
Yesterday we made chocolate-covered strawberries. Very good for a cold: vitamin C and anti-oxidants, you  know.  

4. Napping
Dozing off with a tiny warm body in your lap, completely guilt-free. The decadence! 

5. Piddling
Being house-bound for a few days opens your eyes to a few things that need to be done that you never seem to get around to addressing. Like cleaning out your magazine basket or junk drawer or the top of the washing machine.

6. Projects
We painted the fairy house she got for her birthday and decorated her new Crocs.

7. Reading
We have read some children’s books together and I have even been able to read some of the books from my bedside pile. Aaahhhhhh.
 

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