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Chatter: Podcasts

Growing up in a small farming town north of Seattle, I was only sometimes able to tune into NPR (National Public Radio). When I could, I was fascinated by the news, programs and stories. They always left me wanting more. When I finally moved to the big city (Seattle) in 1999, I binged on NPR. I couldn’t get enough! It was quite a few years before I was able to access podcasts off air, so until then I made sure to tune into my radio whenever my favourite shows were on (gosh, I sound so old fashioned! Ha!). I would time any car trips I had to take to coincide with my favourite shows, and would always curse my luck when I had to miss the beginning or end of a good show.

Eighteen years later I am still  fan, but I now take full advantage of the fact that I can listen to my favourite podcasts on demand. I listen to them when I jog, when I clean, when I’m in the bath, when I’m on my bike or the tube or a bus . . . I listen to them constantly. A good podcast can turn a crappy task or long commute into something that I actually look forward to.

Here are my top five podcasts. I do go through phases of listening to others as well, but these are the podcasts I return to time after time. Continue Reading…

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You can read the first Hungermama newsletter here! If you would like to receive next month’s newsletter, click the “subscribe” button on the top left of the newsletter screen. You can also fill out the form below.

The newsletter includes links to delicious recipes (from other blogs), links to my favourite recipes from last month, and (my favourite part!) interviews with three mums on what they have in their kitchens, what they cook (or don’t cook), and even what they eat for breakfast (oddly, all three mums eat the same thing!). I would love for you to join in the fun!

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Chatter: Why I Will March

I felt so helpless when my nephew was diagnosed with cancer. It seemed so unjust and unfair that this beautiful, healthy boy would have to spend nearly a year in hospital fighting this horrible illness. Aside from phone calls, visits, cards and gifts, there was very little any of us could do to help. It was always going to be terrible and stressful and we just had to get through it. Out of this feeling of helplessness I decided to grow out and donate my hair (which I will finally cut this summer after four years). It is such a tiny thing compared to the suffering my nephew experienced, and the upheaval and heartache those who cared for him experienced, but it was something I was capable of doing that would make a difference, however small. I feel the same way about my decision to march this Saturday in London.
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Chatter: My Hometown Mass Shooting

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I lived in Washington, DC for eight years and have now been in London for nearly six, yet when I think of “home” I always think of the Skagit Valley. The beautiful, green oasis filled with farmland and the winding Skagit River, and surrounded by snow topped mountains. Where tourists flock to from all over the world to view the hundreds of acres of tulip fields. Where strangers smile and wave when they pass on the street, and you can’t go to the grocery store without seeing at least three people you know. The Skagit Valley is a very wholesome, small community to grow up in; it is certainly not the kind of place where you would expect someone would walk into a department store and kill five people with a rifle. 

With Seattle over an hour’s drive away, residents of the valley tend to stay local. My friends and I used to go to our local mall–The Cascade Mall–for anything we needed to buy: clothes, gifts, etc. I flirted with boys in that mall, I bought my prom dresses in that mall, I even worked in that mall (as did my sister and my nephew). As an adult, I have taken my kids to the mall, had family pictures taken at the mall, and spent many hours shopping at the mall with my mom. The Cascade Mall is a fixture of life in the valley and this horrific act of violence came as an absolute shock to this small community. 

In retrospect, however, it was really just a matter of time before a mass shooting came to my lovely valley; gun violence in America has become unavoidable. It doesn’t matter how close knit your community is, or how friendly the people are, or how beautiful your surroundings are. Gun violence in America is no longer something that only happens to other people.

I want to shower you with statistics on gun violence, and explain how it is completely avoidable, but I won’t. Surely you have seen it already. I want to discuss how more Americans have died from gun-toting toddlers this year than from terrorists, but surely you already know this as well. What I do what to tell you is that if a mass shooting can happen in the Skagit Valley, it can also happen in your community (if it hasn’t already). You are no longer safe to go to church. Your kids are no longer safe to go to school. You are not safe to go to the movie theatre. Very soon, if it hasn’t happened already, you or someone you know will be personally affected by gun violence. It has become an inevitable part of life in America.

Should your skin have more pigmentation than mine, you are at even greater risk. You are not able to drive a carhelp someone who is having a mental break down, or even go for a walk in your own neighbourhood. (PS: #blacklivesmatter) But what most Americans don’t seem to realise, is that though this is a reality in the US, this isn’t the case in other comparable countries.

After one mass school shooting in the UK in 1996, the government decided they wouldn’t allow it to happen again. The UK has had one mass shooting since the one in 1996. By comparison, the US currently clocks one mass shooting every single day.  Every. Single. Day. It’s not that we have fewer instances of mental illness here in the UK, or fewer radicals, it is simply that people do not have access to guns here. Even most police officers in the UK don’t carry guns (yes, really). It is a basic fact that restricted access to guns in the UK has resulted in less gun violence. Yet many people in America continue to argue that more guns will result in less gun violence. So far the opposite has been true.

My friends here in the UK are shocked when I tell them that I have to ask my parents to hide the guns in the house before I bring my kids to visit. They are even more shocked when I tell them that my dad is licensed to carry a concealed weapon. Is he a police officer? No. Does he live in a particularly dangerous neighbourhood? Nope. Is he just a bad ass? Not really. In fact, my dad is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, but he is a typical American in this way: he loves his guns, and believes it is his right to carry one; I will never convince him otherwise. This is completely normal behaviour in America, but absolutely bizarre to much of the rest of the world. America always been “extraordinary”, in good ways and bad, but the balance is heading in the wrong direction. (PS: when I called my dad to ask him if it was okay that I write about this, my mom got on the phone and wanted me to make a note of the fact that she is going to get a gun as well.)

After the Sandy Hook shooting I was certain that America would make a change. The deaths of those 20 children and 7 adults were so horrific and the nation was so outraged that I was certain we had finally reached the tipping point . . . but nothing happened. Then the next day there was another mass shooting and the next day another. Soon, to add insult to injury, instead of discussing gun control, politicians discussed the need for even more guns. More guns to prevent gun deaths is such poor logic. Guns will not make America safer. More guns will only mean more gun deaths. Just as fire won’t put put out a fire, and alcohol won’t cure an alcoholic, more guns won’t solve the gun problem in America. That isn’t a political statement. It is just basic logic.

My hometown is now forever changed, and for those of you in America, soon yours will be as well. Soon you won’t look on an article like this in an abstract way. You will look on an article like this and you will tear up because you will finally relate to it. You will think about the senselessness of the deaths that occurred in your community. You will remember those who died and think of the families they left behind. You’ll be frustrated and angry that this sort of nonsense has been allowed to spiral out of control with absolutely no real efforts made to stop it.

This week it was my home town, but next week it could be yours. Until Americans decide that the lives of its citizens are more important than their desire to bear arms, this is the future of our great county.

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Chatter: 5 Tips for Getting Your Kids to Try New Foods

Hello from Colorado! This is our last stop on the Hungerford Family Tour before we head back to London. It has been a long time away, but we are still very much enjoying the remainder of the trip. 

A few months ago I had the opportunity to chat with today’s contributor at a Mother’s Meeting. I invited her to share some of her expertise with us on the blog and she sent over some fab tips for getting your kids to try new foods this summer! 

Thanks, Fran! 

Bxx

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Grilled Pizzas

I have all sorts of great excuses as to why I’m behind on posting, but as someone who can’t stand excuses, I’ll spare you mine. 😉  The most important bit is that we’re having an incredible time in Portland and eating lots of great food and drinking amazing coffee. (I’m currently sitting in my favourite Portland coffee shop with an absolutely perfect almond milk latte!)  Hopefully this week’s meal plan will be up tomorrow and we’ll be back on schedule.

In the meantime, you need to know about these super fun and delicious grilled pizzas that Pete’s godmother made us yesterday. Such a fun and easy idea! She grilled one side of the dough first and removed them from the grill for us to add toppings to (on the grilled bit). They then went back on the grill to cook the other side on a lower heat to make sure the cheese had plenty of time to melt. I’ve never actually attempted grilling on my own, but these may be where I start!

Bethie xx

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Chatter: Going with my Gut: why I post pictures of my kids online

I joined Instagram in 2010, right after my first child was born. I posted a few photos here and there, but it wasn’t until 2012 that I became a regular user. We had just moved to a new neighbourhood here in London, and I didn’t know anyone. After a few lonely months, I figured out that I could connect with local mums by following them on Instagram. I could see which mums frequented my local parks and check out their profiles to see if we had much in common. I connected with mums all over the world, and we bonded over our similar interests or having kids of similar ages. All of a sudden, I went from feeling completely isolated to having an entire community of mums at my fingertips: it was truly life-changing.

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Chatter: Eating with Kids on Holiday

Before kids, Jason and I did quite a bit of traveling. We vacationed everywhere from Costa Rica to West Virginia, and always made a point of trying interesting local cuisines, shopping at local grocery stores, and seeking out restaurants where the locals eat. Since having kids, we really haven’t had to adjust how we travel much at all, as we’ve found that this suits the kids quite nicely.

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Amsterdam 2014

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