All posts by ginny

Why We’re Skipping the Feast

What this:

Residents walk on a road littered with debris after Super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city in central Philippines

has to do with this:

TE BLOG. Thanksgiving turkey. 11.14.2011.iStock_000014820895Small[1]

I love Thanksgiving.  Aside from the  celebrations of the Incarnation and Resurrection, this is my favorite holiday.  I am an unabashed foodie and Thanksgiving is the day when I pull out all the stops.  For example, here is a picture of our newlywed Thanksgiving feast for two.


Seriously.  I cooked everything my New England-raised husband was used to plus my own family’s Deep South staples.  At least I held back and roasted a turkey breast rather than a full-sized bird!  We had to bring his minifridge out of storage to contain the leftovers that overwhelmed our apartment kitchen.

Since then, our family has grown, and my holiday cooking has become somewhat more proportional.  Meaning, I skip his Yankee green bean casserole and might just have one type of cranberry sauce on hand.  We do larger family gatherings in the evening or the weekend after the big day, and have our own feast for five in the afternoon.  I actually prefer to manage everything on my own rather than potlucking with others.  Partly this is so I’ll know that all the dishes will be allergy-safe, but mostly I’m jealously guarding my foodie fun.

Here is our typical menu:  10-12 lb organic turkey, brined and roasted, oyster cornbread dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, homemade with satsumas.  (Probably a can of the jellied stuff, too.)  Whipped potatoes (for the New Englander), dirty rice (for the Southern girl), baked sweet potatoes, peas, green bean casserole (maybe), asparagus casserole (a real food take on my grandmother’s specialty), rolls (homemade or frozen from the GF bakery in NOLA), pumpkin pie w/ homemade whipped cream (real pumpkin puree, maybe a homemade crust).  Oh my yum.

A few weeks ago I was making my Thanksgiving plans when super-typhoon Haiyan made the news. The storm that struck the Phillipines on November 7 is believed to be that most powerful storm to ever hit land. Several thousand died and many more are living in miserable conditions while aid trickles in.

We live in a community that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina eight years ago. Barely a day goes by when I am not reminded of the storm – whether it is in passing the empty lots that once held homes or businesses, or hearing a local tell a story (our history is divided into “before” and “after the storm”). Most of the homes my town lost belonged to the wealthy. For all the loss and bungled aid that followed our storm, I cannot comprehend the disaster that struck the island of Leyte. A storm larger than our first-world nightmare struck a community where half of the people live on less than two dollars a day.

When disasters like this happen, we try to make a special donation so that in some small way, we can help alleviate the crisis. As we considered what and how we could give, it became apparent that there wasn’t much wiggle room in the budget. We currently tithe, and regularly support a few other worthy causes.  We were busily packing three slam-bang boxes for Operation Christmas Child, on which we spent a pretty penny. If we were going to make a meaningful gift, something would have to go. As a family, we prayed. I thought.

One morning, as I lay in bed in the fuzzy dawning of wakefulness, it came to me:  Thanksgiving.  We could give up our Thanksgiving feast. It must have been a God-thing because I felt a lightness of spirit rather than a sense of disappointment as I considered it.  My T-Day plan involved a trip to The Big City with a stopover at the Crescent City Farmer’s Market, Whole Foods and the gluten free bakery. I would easily drop a week’s worth of grocery money (about $150) on supplies for the big meal. What if we skipped the trip, had a simple meal instead and gave our feast money to disaster relief?

I could hardly contain myself as I waited to propose the idea to my family. Now, you must understand that my kids enjoy Thanksgiving almost as much as I do. They all list turkey among their top five meals, even though we only roast one big bird a year.  It’s a big deal.  My husband, on the other hand, could easily live off Soylent for the rest of his days.  Fewer dishes to wash sounded like a fine idea to him.  (Also no need to bring out the minifridge.)  Surprisingly, the kids were in agreement.  It is important, I think, that we had been praying as a family about the disaster.  My heart thrilled to see them thoughtfully choose sacrifice over selfishness.

We decided to have turkey burgers and sweet potato fries on Thanksgiving day.  The spirit of gratitude is present as we gather together and the simpler fare is a reminder of how blessed we truly are.

We made our donation to MTW Disaster Relief, a branch of our denomination (Presbyterian Church of America).  Other organizations helping include:  Baptist Global Response, Samaritan’s Purse, World Vision, Oxfam America, and, of course, the Red Cross.

Am I trying to guilt trip you for having a big turkey feast?  Nope.  Of course not.  I plan to thoroughly enjoy our turkey burgers and sweet potato fries. I am planning a Thanksgiving 2014, the likes of which we’ve never seen!  I think it is right for Christians to celebrate an occasional feastival.  (I just made up that word.)  But this year, this time, I felt strongly led by God to give up something I value so that others might be blessed.  Maybe you feel that same pull.  Maybe you can scale back that Christmas list and sponsor a child.  Maybe you can let your hair revert to it’s natural color and buy a goat for a family in need.

Maybe you thought about making a donation to the people affected by Haiyan, but it slipped your mind in the holiday bustle.  Take a moment. Give a little something (or a lot), while you count your blessings with loved ones today.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Afternoon Snack: Nori Crisps


Tiny with a nori crisp. Also, my thumb.

My kids love this stuff. Sometime in college, I found a recipe the back of a package of sushi nori and hit upon this cheap, healthful snack. What we call nori crisps is known as “gim” (or kim) to Koreans and has been catching on lately as a mainstream American snack food. You may have picked up a small package of roasted seaweed and been left wishing for more of the finger-licking deliciousness.


The Boy snacking on two wheels.

No need to run off to the store! This recipe requires three ingredients, five minutes of your time, and a few pennies worth of pantry staples.

Nori Crisps (Makes a snack-sized portion for a few kids)

3 sheets sushi nori
sesame oil
sea salt

Preheat your broiler (or not). Put nori sheets, smooth side up on a baking sheet. I can fit three, with one sheet cut in half.


Drizzle with a bit of sesame oil. I use about 1 1/2 T per three sheets, but never measure. Using a pastry brush, even out the sesame oil so the sheets are covered. Don’t flip them – one side is all you need to cover. Now sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Place baking sheet six inches under broiler (turn it on high if you haven’t done this yet) and wait about four minutes (or eight if you forgot to preheat). Don’t let them burn! They are ready when crisp and starting to change color. 20130903-205730.jpg

Let cool. Cut into squares and serve. Now start the next batch because everyone will want seconds.


Bean loves ‘em, too.






Learning to Cook, Part 3

And now I shall finish the tale of how I am still, learning to cook.

In the Summer of 2009, I found myself pregnant with my third.  After two highly medicalized birth experiences, I knew I wanted to work with a midwife this time around.  Thanks be to God, I found an amazing one.  She took my insurance, delivered at a local hospital with a pro-natural birth rep, was accepting VBAC clients and (while not necessary, but certainly encouraging to me) shared my faith.

While checking out her website I saw her recommended reading list.  One cookbook was on the list:  Nourishing Traditions.  I had never heard of it, but was intrigued by the subtitle:  “The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats”.  I had already declared that I did not need any more cookbooks, but keep looking it up online and decided to order a copy.  I could tell from reader reviews that this book suggested a radical approach to cooking and nutrition.  When my copy arrived, I was impressed by it’s heft and the amount of text accompanying the recipes.

The author of Nourishing Traditions (hereafter “NT”) is Sally Fallon.  Inspired by the work of a early twentieth-century researcher Dr. Weston Price, Fallon promotes traditional foods (hereafter “TF”) – a pre-industrial diet.  Much of the information found in the book is contrary to popular opinion and yet, makes perfect sense to me.  For example, traditional peoples valued saturated animal fats such as butter, cream and lard as health-promoting.  The increasing use of so-called heart-friendly vegetable oils (primarily industrially-produced) corresponds with an increase in heart disease, diabetes, and other “diseases of civilization”.  NT elucidates discarded grain-preparation practices (soaking, sprouting, and sourdough) that vastly improve their nutritional profile and digestability.  There is a lot of info on how to prepare “nutrient dense” foods such as seafood, organ meats, and cultured vegetables.

There were several forehead-smacking moments as I read my way through NT.  I’ve always been a skeptic of “better living through chemistry” (one of the reasons we decided to forgo hormonal birth control, commercial air fresheners, and florescent food products).  Why would I assume that factory-produced low fat cheese (or worse, soy cheez) is better than the real, raw deal?  It certainly didn’t taste better!

I started using butter and buying bacon weekly.  The biggest challenge was weaning my family off breakfast cereal.  We’d been used to buying it cheap at the grocery outlet and had always had quite a selection.  The Boy protested for literally months, but I stood strong.  (Now he says he loves porridge for breakfast.)  And after turning off the “low fat” mental switch I’d had since around second grade, I started liking butter!  Really, really loving the pastured butter from the coop.  Raw milk – way more expensive, but wonderful.  Now that I knew just how unhealthy soy was, I acknowledged that soymilk is gross and chalky.

Some of the changes at home went over well.  Who doesn’t like bacon?  Cereal was verboten – although P.F. bought some for himself now and then and had it for an evening snack (after the kidlets were abed).  I worked my way through NT recipes and slowly managed to develop a taste for liver.  One change that was slower in coming was cutting back on sweets.  I made a healthy decision to up my fat intake, but didn’t make the corresponding cut in sugary carbs that should accompany the switch to traditional eating.  Nonetheless, my weight gain with this pregnancy was perfectly reasonable.

All in all, the results of my dietary changes shocked me.  The foods I’d always craved during pregnancy (eggs and sausage, primarily, were justified by my growing baby’s nutritional needs.  I gladly indulged.  My first two pregnancies ended with several weeks of bedrest precipitated by a diagnosis of oligohydramnios (low amniotic fluid).  No doc was able to explain why my placentas didn’t do their job unless I spent much of the day horizontal.  This time around, the amniotic fluid level never dropped below normal.  I had never experienced anything other than frustrating idleness in my last few weeks of pregnancy.  This time around, I could actually “nest”!

My first two pregnancies found me severely and persistently anemic.  This time around, my iron levels tested low again, but recovered to an acceptable level with supplementation (Ferrasorb, Yellow Dock root, and nettle infusions) and an admonishment to eat as much red meat as I wanted.  Hello, Burgermaster!  (There just happened to be a drive-in near my midwife’s office.  While not health food by any stretch, they did serve grassfed beef.)

The most noticeable difference for me, since changing to a traditional foods diet was a substantial reduction in joint pain.  All three of my pregnancies led to a diagnosis of SI dysfunction – a severely tweaked hip joint caused by loose ligaments.  In my first two pregnancies, the pain began in the second trimester and became debilitating (as in, I couldn’t walk half a block without pain) by seven months.  The last time around, my SI joint started behaving funkily around six months, but I was still able to walk several blocks.  Instead of agonizing pain with every step, I would have aches and soreness afterwards.  Not perfect, but manageable.  A huge difference.

My family is sick much, much, much less often now that we focus on homemade, nutrient-dense meals.  My kids (The Boy in public K, Princess Bean in preschool) haven’t had an actual illness in almost a year.  We do pick up viruses occasionally, but colds seem to be very minor – a low fever maybe, one night with some coughs, then back to normal.  Also, my toddler does not have the permanently-runny nose I see on so many of her playmates.  Anecdotal evidence, to be sure, but plenty convincing for me.

(Sheesh.  That took a while to crank out.  At some point, there will be an epilogue to the “Learning to Cook” series – highlighting our recent adventures with food intolerances.  Until then, expect to see an update on our planned escape from the city.  And maybe I’ll figure out how to make this blog more “bloggy” – with a blogroll, widgets, pictures, more frequent updates and whatnot.)


Bugs on The (Dirt-Crusted) Boy

Bugs belong in the garden.  Show me a garden free of creepy crawlies, and I’ll show you a garage full of poison.  Still, certain creatures will drive me to cold-blooded killing.  Army worms (the reason I’ve given up on planting chard this year) and aphids are at the top of my hit list.

In May, my beloved rosebushes were covered with promising buds.  (I have a great view of my best rosebushes from the window by Tiny’s changing table.  I may not be smelling the roses, but it makes what I am smelling a little more tolerable.)  When I had the chance to visit my roses up close, I discovered that many of the buds were covered with little green devils hell-bent on sucking the life out of them first.  Every year I fight this battle – I’ve used homemade sprays (milk, soap), an organic pesticide from my coop (which I now know is not the best idea), and mostly my fingers to wipe them off and squish them to oblivion.  The roses win out eventually, but the aphids take their toll.  They also attack the peas and the new buds on our baby plum tree.
This year, I invested in mercenaries.  Our local garden store, it turns out, stocked ladybugs and lacewings (another beneficial insect I’ll need to learn up on).  I wasn’t quite sure how one goes about purchasing a large quantity of bugs, but it seemed like it was time to try.  The kids were especially excited about the plan.

After two disappointing trips to the garden store (they were out of ladybugs), I finally lucked out one night and brought home a small bag of gardening supplies.  Inside was a few seed packets and a $8 bag of bugs.

The small mesh bag the store clerk handed me contained about 1000 ladybugs, supposedly, and a few stringy things that may have been their food.  She said to keep them in my fridge until I was ready to release them.  The Ladies in Red stay dormant at cold temps).  The best time to release the wee beetles is in the early evening, shortly after watering.

The Boy and Princess Bean were thrilled, but also creeped out by the sheer quantity of bugs.  They needed reassurance that ladybugs don’t bite.  We took the package to the garden and gently shook out its living contents on the roses and other plants.  The stragglers were left to crawl out on their own time.  The next day the bag was empty of all live ladybugs, with a few dozen carcasses left behind.  Not bad, considering the number of live bugs that had made themselves at home.

While I didn’t expect the ladybugs to all stick around, we’ve seen a significant increase in our local ladybug population.  I’m also happy to report that the aphids have been nibbled up to tolerable levels.  The little ladies have made homes on our fences, especially in the metal tubes that form the end-stakes on the pea fence.

While ladybugs themselves are about as recognizable a bug as there is, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the appearance of their offspring.  When I was new to gardening, I ignorantly squashed several creepy looking ladybug larvae that I’d assumed were garden pests.

Don’t kill me!

Stupid.  I have since adopted a reasonable policy.  Don’t kill strangers just because they look weird.  I found a fantastic book, which I recommend to any gardener who desires to grow organically.  The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control has pictures of the bugs you want to make friends with and those destined to be your enemies, along with all the info you need to deal with them.

Organic gardeners have to live with bugs.  Rather than trying to battle nature, I am learning to work with it.  Ideally, my own plantings would attract all the beneficial insects I need to keep the enemies in check.  This year, though, the kids got to enjoy the sight of hundreds of bugs swarming the garden in search of dinner.  It was fun.  I recommend it.

Learning to Cook, Part 2

Determined to never again serve “booger food”, I searched out recipes for healthy side dishes.  I collected piles of recipes from magazine, the newspaper and the internet.  We lived close to an historic farmer’s market, which I jogged to a few times a week in search of food.  The Market is one of my favorite places in the city – I salivated over plump blueberries, gorgeous bouquets, and perfectly fresh salmon.  I’d fill my backpack with food – whatever the recipe called for – and powerwalk up the long hill home.

One week, an advertisement in a weekly alternative newspaper caught my eye.  It was a coupon for a new organic produce delivery.  I was into organic food – mostly for environmental reasons – and decided to take advantage of the deal.  Every other week a box of assorted fruits and veggies would arrive to our building.  I had some room to substitute certain items, but for the most part, the weekly delivery was a grab bag.  In other words, exciting!

I encountered foods I already loved and many I’d never had before:  kale, beets, winter squash, blood oranges.   Our produce came with explanatory notes, storage tips and recipes.  The company was aware that most of their customers were, like me, unfamiliar with how to prepare, cook, and store real food (e.g.: carrot tops should be removed before you put them in the fridge; otherwise they’ll get floppy).  I learned that beets were better peeled after they’re cooked.  (Not to mention crazy delicious – nothing like the weird canned beets of salad bar notoriety.)  Pumpkin pie could be made from, get this, actual pumpkins!  It was a treat to be have all this goodness delivered, but also a challenge to figure out how to use it before it spoiled.  Lucky for me, I work best under pressure.

With my fridge full of fresh food, I sought out recipes and found some favorites.  As I’d always known, I loved to cook.  And there wasn’t much to it:  just follow recipes.  Some recipes, I noticed, gave some flexibility:  salads, stir fries, fruit-filled baked goods.  I normally resisted substitutions (it made me nervous), but realizing there was a framework to work within allowed me to break free and utilize both my creativity and the local bounty.  I started to see that recipes were based on formulas.  Once you learn what tastes great together, what takes the same amount of time to cook, you can use what you have or crave to create something unique.  I slowly developed a repertoire.  Our meals were still skimpy on the protein.  I relied on boneless, skinless chicken breasts  (BSCBs), tofu, and salmon, mostly.

By studying recipes, learning to cook whole foods (eschewing things in packaging, using fresh produce), and tentatively testing the waters of substitution, my cooking skills improved.  My first Thanksgiving as a wife was a blast.  Determined to serve all the holiday dishes we’d both grown up with (I in the South, he in New England), I cooked an even more ridiculous amount of food than I would have otherwise.

Clockwise from Top: Dirty Rice, Oyster Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, Pumpkin Pie, Green Bean Casserole, Asparagus Casserole, Sweet Potato Patties, Cranberry Sauce. Center: Roast Turkey Breast, Yeast Rolls. To Drink: Honey Mead, San Pellegrino, Some Sort of Red Wine

That’s for two people, folks.  I cooked all day.  I cooked so much (for P.F. and I) that he had to plug in a mini-fridge for all the leftovers.

My interest in organic agriculture led to an awareness of local, seasonal eating.  I am still amazed at how long I’d been eating, cooking, and caring about the environment before I realized that enjoying strawberries in January wasn’t natural.   A book I came to love,Simply in Season, became indispensable.  A Farmer’s Market opened in our neighborhood (we’d bought a house) and I realized it was my favorite place on earth.  I experimented with canning and preserving food, first turning the wild blackberries that grow on any vacant space here into jam.  I made just about every kind of fruit cobbler, pie, and sweet bread you can imagine.  Baking became my specialty.  A friend who baked bread regularly, encouraged me to make bread-baking a weekly occurance.  It really didn’t take much time and kneading felt good.

I bought a lot of tofu.  We probably had tofu and multi-vegetable stir fry once a week.  This is due, mostly, to my continuing trouble with meat.  I don’t know what was so intimidating about it.  It just seemed too easy to mess up.  Too bloody.  Tofu was easy.  And crazy-healthy, I thought.  I cooked meat on holidays (turkey, duck) and steak for Dave’s birthday.  Eventually, salmon became a frequent treat.  That was as easy as BSCB’s, except quicker and much tastier.

We’d been doing a lot of reading about sustainable, simple living.  The DIY aspect of growing and cooking one’s food appealed to me.  I often thought, “How can I make this myself?”, “How can we skip the packaging?”  We turned our rocky, tiny yard into a rocky, tiny garden.  I started out with a potted cherry tomato plant, but soon (as I am wont to do) planted every square foot.  It was (and is) too shaded, and rarely produced more than snack-sized servings, but I wanted to make the most of what we had. I absolutely relish the chances I have to dig in the dirt.  To put tiny seeds in the ground and harvest actual food as a result never ceases to seem miraculous.

Wanting to ensure goodness for The Boy, who’d come along by then, I took on the task of making his first foods.  Now that a growing little person was dependent on me to provide good stuff for him to grow on, I got even more serious.  Eventually, PH bought me a grain grinder for my birthday.  Obviously, milling one’s own flour is crossing some sort of threshold into health nut/survivalist territory.  I was into the arm workout, too (it’s human-powered).

I thought I had pretty much fully evolved as the family cook.  I cooked mostly local, organic foods for my family.  I was a sucker for sweet baked treats, but kept things low fat for the most part.  In mid-2009, I was hit with another paradigm shift about eating and cooking.  In Part 3, I’ll share how a cookbook recommended by my midwife blew my mind.

Learning to Cook: Part 1

I’m always dismayed when I hear others say they “can’t cook”.  Or worse, “hate cooking”.  Back in the mid 20th century, I suppose, women were “liberated” from their kitchens, “freed” to go to work so they could pay someone else to cook for them.  Even now, on certain AM radio stations, “get back in the kitchen” is an insult used against women in office by sexist blowhards.  As more and more women spent less and less time in the kitchen, real cooking became more and more specialized.  Basic cooking abilities, once as widespread a skill as shoelace-tying or self-bathing, was no longer necessary to feed one’s family.  Non-cooks have been raised by non-cooks.  Instead of homemade real food, we’ve bought into the Standard American Diet (SAD); and confused “making dinner” with mixing the contents of various packages or opening a bucket of take-out chicken.

I, on the other hand, have aspired to be a great cook.  I was raised by a home-ec teacher, who took great pride in her kitchen skill and showed affection by preparing yummy things for our family.  Mom’s jambalaya was legendary.  For Thanksgiving she’d pull out all the stops, preparing a heavily peppered cornbread dressing, dirty rice, and juicy roast turkey all the while dancing to the first official playing of Aaron Neville’s Christmas album.  Cooking was a skill.  Cooking was fun!

Despite all this, my brothers and I were raised on the Standard American Diet.  Mom, who worked a more-than-full-time job and raised five kids, relied on convenience foods for our meals.  Fast food was consumed at least once a week.  Soda or sweet tea was always on the dinner table.  Sugar-crusted breakfast cereals and store-bought snacks were welcome in our home.  And while love was shown with edible sweetness and comfort with deep-fried juiciness, our relationship with food was ambivalent.  Mom and I were both heavier than we’d like to be.  I followed her example and began fretting about my weight.  She raised hell on my behalf in elementary school so I could drink the previously “for teachers 0nly” skim milk in the cafeteria.  Even in second grade I had started dieting.  We were suckers for any low-fat product we saw advertised.  Olestra chips.  (Anyone remember the warning label?  Yikes.)  Diet soda (Gag).  Snackwells (cookies reminiscent of sweetened dirt).

By my college/single years I was a more adept cook than most of my friends, but almost all of my cooking involved opening box or can of  something.  I could cook greens, omelettes, and quesadillas on the stove.  I microwaved broccoli and baked potatoes.  In the rare periods I wasn’t broke, I ate a ton of salad – which came pre-washed in a plastic bag, of course.  I added sliced tomatoes, feta cheese and bottled dressing.  I ate Easy Mac, breakfast cereal, canned soup and veggies.  Meat was intimidating to cook, but I wanted to be thin anyway, so usually avoided it.

One thing I did learn how to do well was apple pie – I made a real crust using a recipe I’d copied out of a magazine.  It became my speciality and won a bake-off contest at our student ministry.  I’d acquired a few cookbooks and magazine subscriptions and studied them.  As long as I followed recipes, most things turned out fine.  There was a learning curve, though.   I didn’t know what all the cooking terms meant.  It took one batch of astonishingly pungent hummus to learn the difference between “one clove” and “one head” of garlic.

Early married life provided me the challenge of cooking square meals for the first time.  Rather than having leftover fried rice and Lucky Charms for dinner, it seemed like the thing real grownups did.   I was heavily dependent on bagged frozen chicken breasts, which I cooked to a leathery dryness – either in a frying pan or stove.  I served these with canned veggies and bagged salad.  My tactful husband declared the peas that I’d always thought delectable (LeSeuer – the Rolls Royce of canned peas!), to taste like “boogers”.  Having been raised by serious hippie gardeners, he was perplexed by my purchases of canned vegetables.  I, too, was confused.  Other than potatoes and salad fixins, the thought of purchasing fresh vegetables had never occurred to me.  It was a turning point.

Happy Fourth of July!

I am celebrating the Fourth with my family, thankful for the freedoms we are blessed with in the U.S. As I think on those, I am grateful for the freedom of expression, exercised here at Cultivating the Good Life.

Segue achieved.

I have a tendency to get ahead of myself. This blog has been something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I have several entries in the works and even more ideas simmering. I also have three kids, an overworked, often-gone husband, and responsibilities outside the home. So maybe posting twice a week won’t happen right away. I think this thing will gain momentum, though. Like many of my passions, I’ll manage to find the time. I’ve been bursting with ideas and look forward to sharing some of them with you. Stay tuned.


Welcome to Cultivating the Good Life.  You’re invited to join me, a wannabe farmer/urban mom of three, in my journey to live healthier and more sustainably.  Along the way I’ll share what I’m learning about real food, green living, and growing a happy family.

I’m new to blogging and have yet to figure out all the terminology (and trick out this site), but plan to post at least twice a week.  Please visit again and be sure to comment, so we can learn from one another.