Heart-to-Heart with Diane

Hello and Welcome! Isn't raising a family the greatest!? I know I've got the best job in the world, just being Mom! I love sharing things I've discovered that make being "Mom" better, easier or more fulfilling, and that is what this blog is all about. Welcome!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Swim Modest

Pretty Emily, my 2nd daughter, on Catalina Island

Having girls is quite another thing. After 3 boys in a row, I got a daughter! And when she was old enough to wear a swimsuit, I was in for a shock. Yes, she was just a baby, but I could already see that the world and I were not going to agree on how much of my daughter's skin they were going to get to see.

So began a very long shop-a-thon which left me empty-handed. We experimented. Covering a normal swimsuit with a t-shirt and shorts was not the answer (a wet t-shirt is very immodest!) Then I began a sewing fury, trying this and that, mostly failures. To dress my daughters in modest swimsuits became an obsession. We tried so many things!

I went to the local swimming pool to observe. If it wasn't so sad, it would be laughable. Every teen and woman there was in a pull-and-yank struggle to keep covered. First it was a two-handed pull-down of the back of the suit so the panty didn't ride up on their bottom. Then it was a yank to the front neck to keep their cleavage a bit more covered. Then on to the underarms to try once again to keep their breasts more covered, and then to the front crotch area, trying to make a tiny width of fabric cover a very private part of the body. This didn't look fun!

This called for some serious pattern drawing. I had lots of sewing experience, and my husband is an engineer, so he got out his drafting tools and some pattern paper. We slaved most of a summer away trying to come up with the perfect swimsuit!

My first goal in creating a swimsuit was modesty, but comfort and stylishness are very pretty important too. Finally, after lots of failed attempts, and a whole summer of sewing prototypes and lots of hysterical laughter when my daughters were summoned to try on yet another suit, we finally designed a suit that everyone seemed to feel comfortable, modest and stylish in! It is made of quick-drying lyrcra swim fabric that stretches with your body's movements. It has sewn-in lightly padded no-show-through bra cups (instead of those limp, panel bras). The sarong skirt (sewn in) drapes beautifully giving the crotch coverage that make us feel much more at ease. Under the skirt are shorts, not a panty, thank goodness, so you can sit at ease cross-legged in the sand without ever tugging at anything! And it is all one piece, so no worry about midriff showing, sarong falling off or anything else. Finally, liberation! Hurray!

Little girls look charming in them, big girls and moms feel comfy and relaxed. Older women appreciate the skin coverage. Boaters wear them as "splashwear". Sun sensitive people love the fact that they give top-of-the-arm and thigh coverage, where sunburns can be so painful. People who would feel ill at ease wearing a swimsuit into a store think they are great and dash into the store in them. No need for a cover-up.

If you are ready for something new, something more modest than what the stores are showing, try a Swim Modest swimsuit. I think you will be delighted!

See a big gallery of modest swimsuit photos here.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

A Delicious Read, Indeed

I want to tell you about my favorite book: Laddie, A True Blue Story. It's not very often that you find such a warm, family-value-oriented book. It is a treasure! The best part of it was reading it out-loud to my children. I found it taught just as much as a sermon . . . with my family chuckling along the way and begging for more. And there is lots more—416 pages of it.

From the eyes of Little Sister (the youngest child living in a big family on a farm in the newly settled Midwest in the 1900’s), we get a delicious taste of strong family values and faith in God. Full of adventures and scrapes—love stories too—with a kind and devoted mother, a protective wise father, and a loving older brother, Laddie, as superb role models that I want to follow!

Leon, a young brother, provides lots of humor, just being a boy. Little Sister, through whose eyes the story unfolds, finds school squelching to her free spirit, and it is hard not to commiserate with her. The mother and father are remarkable Christians in spite of the many challenges of taming a new land. Such a sweet story of wholesome, decent, loving family life!

Get it at your library, borrow it from a friend, get if from my bookstore. . . but read it! It will definitely enrich your life.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sugar Free? Try a "Fool" for Dessert

Delightful whipped cream!

I've been off sugar so long that I really can't remember how badly it had a hold on me. Six months abstinence can really break a habit. I'm glad to be off of it and know I can never go back. To my great surprise, my husband decided as a New Year's resolution to join me in my sugar-free eating habits. He is cruising along happily, making it look a lot easier than my "getting-off-sugar" struggle. We now have more sugar-free members of the family around the table than sugar-eaters. Hey, this is amazing!

I still enjoy sweets and am always on the lookout for a sugar-free dessert to replace the social refreshments that sugar provides at parties and family gatherings. This dessert isn't fat-free, of course, but delicious, impressive, and very sweet—without sugar. Serve sparingly in long-stemmed parfait dishes and I think you'll be quite satisfied that you have had dessert after all!

As long as you have whipping cream, you can make a dessert at a moment's notice. Just add 6 drops of liquid stevia to 1/3 pint of cream and whip it up. Taste it and add more drops of stevia if you need, but don't get it too sweet. The fruit will add more sweetness.

A "fool" is an English dessert made of whipped cream and crushed fruit. The British countryside is full of berries: gooseberries, red currants, strawberries, raspberries and mulberries. Berries and the cream of a good milk cow make a wholesome dessert!

Here are some "fools" to try:

*sliced banana and blueberries and a big dollop of whipped cream. Sprinkle with pecans.

*frozen berry mix (strawberries, blueberries and blackberries) can be partially thawed and then stirred into whipped cream, for a brilliant fuchsia-colored dessert.

*very ripe pears, chopped and mixed with whipped cream. Top with walnuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

*chopped bananas, topped with whipped cream sweetened with chocolate liquid stevia. Sift a light dusting of unsweetened cocoa powder on top for a dramatic effect. Sprinkle with peanuts. Very pretty table presentation. (Stir before eating, so the cocoa powder takes on the sweetening).

*put a dollop of whipped cream in the bottom of a parfait dish. Top liberally with raspberries. Put another small dollop on top. Sprinkle macadamia nuts on top.

Be a "fool" for dessert!

P.S. Mix homemade applesauce, cinnamon and unsweetened whipped cream together— luscious served on French toast. Tastes like dessert!

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