She Told Me So

26 Dec

I had a great, serendipitous moment last weekend when I was perusing Parade Magazine and stumbled upon one of my mom’s pet peeves.  I happened to see Marilyn Vos Savant’s column ( and the question, “My friend and I disagree about whether it’s okay to use fabric shears to cut wrapping paper…Can you settle this for us?”  I recalled (fondly now since my annoyance over these admonishments has diminished over time) the reprimand my mom would give if she thought we were using the “kitchen scissors” for fabric or the “fabric scissors” for paper, etc. Ms. Vos Savant explains the actual scientific reason for making sure that the fabric scissors’ blade does not get dulled by cutting paper.   I actually never doubted my mom’s scissor-use guideline and have always tried to use scissors for their published purpose.  In fact, if you have read many of my blog posts, you would know that I often feel my mom’s presence in my life  because I follow many of her lessons.

This little tip sparked a reminiscence of more good tips from my mom:

First, one that my family notices and questions – using your wrist not your hand to check someone’s forehead for fever. Every time my husband uses his hand to check for warmth, I actually recoil, thinking about my mom’s method. And, I just googled this to find that Yahoo Answers! agrees with her ( ) — not that I doubted her, I just wanted a second opinion.

Second and more controversial:  Drinking warm liquids to stay cool in the summer. I can recall the exact street corner in Red Bank, NJ where we had this conversation. My mom was treating us to drinks on a hot summer day and asked for hot, not iced coffee. Her reasoning might have been off, but her method works. She emphatically explained that your warm body has to work harder when it reacts to an icy liquid and the “hard work” makes you hotter. I’ve always wondered about this and just googled it too. I found an interesting and almost opposite explanation, but it still gives the same end result:  feeling cooler on a hot day. .

Third, tons of cooking education.  Recently, after giving my good friend advice on cooking chicken soup, she  was impressed and asked how I knew the “insider tips.” When I told her, “Oh, easy- my mom taught me…” she complimented my mom for both her practical knowledge and ability to impart it to me!

Little things like finding that column, especially when I usually recycle Parade Magazine without even opening it, give me a warm reminder that my mom is still an influence in my life. I have admitted before in my blogs that while I do genuinely miss my mother for all of the usual melancholy and sentimental reasons, I also selfishly miss her help. Thanks to her, I do know how to boil water faster, dust top to bottom, check for expiration dates and much more (

I am so sure my mom would have continued to share even more expert and useful tips. And, given the opportunity, Marilyn Vos Savant would endorse them!

5 Responses to “She Told Me So”

  1. Deborah the Closet Monster December 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    I can’t think of many practical things I learned from my mom, who was as wonderful generally as she was impractical.

    I do recall being super excited one time when my sister taught me a baking trick she’d learned from my mom: instead of cutting cinnamon roll dough with a knife, she did so with dental floss. It was a small thing to have passed down, but it delighted me so . . . and still does now, a couple years later. 🙂

    • Shari Danzig Stein December 27, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

      It’s those little tips that do make a difference. Even if that’s the only one you have, I think it would be neat for us to all share — a generation of wisdom! Besides, I am going to try that floss method– would never have thought of that!

  2. Stacie @ Snaps and Bits December 30, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

    Obviously priceless tips she left you!

  3. Christina December 30, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    Thank you SO MUCH for this blog! I love how even though you miss your mom deeply and wish that she were here to share your journey in motherhood, you choose to remember as many of the good things as possible. Reading your blog really helps my attitude. Best wishes to you and your family for a happy, healthy 2013!
    P.S. – It’s funny because my kids have gotten into the habit of grabbing the kitchen scissors to cut just about anything (They even showed up in the garage once where my oldest dissected the Mac’s mouse with them!). I’m sure that my mom would have frowned upon that.

    • Shari Danzig Stein December 30, 2012 at 10:34 pm #

      Thanks Christina for your comment– I’m glad I’ve written something you can relate to– so funny about those scissors!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s