Tag Archives: Rants

What’s for dinner? (Blog and Recipe)

Typical Day with four teenage boys and a somewhat passive aggressive mom:
0700– Someone in the house ask you “What’s for dinner”. Say you don’t know and wait for the next 4 people you meet to ask you.
1000 – Nonchalantly get up and look at what’s in the freezer and see you have some boneless chicken thighs.
1200 – Next time someone asks “What’s for dinner” say “chicken”.

When they say how are you going to make it? Say you don’t know .

Listen to them ramble on about what they personally want and why you should make that particular dish. Explain patiently that different folks in the house don’t LIKE what they want and then say you’re only cooking one dish.

Listen as they relentlessly plead their case about how the others in the household don’t matter.
Approximately 1500 -Watch now, as they circle the kitchen more deliberately, but separately, getting really concerned about the dinner situation.

(Fun thing for mom): Send them on little goose chases – “Well do we have buns?” (that might mean friend chick-fil-a type sandwiches.

“No buns”.

“Hmmm…do we have charcoal?” (that might mean teriyaki grilled chicken thighs.

“Nope not enough.”…then shake your head in dismay and act as if you have NO IDEA what to do then.
1600 – Ask who is doing what in terms of evening activities to figure out the timelines you’ll be cooking.
“Well dad and Dan have practice at 6.”
1602-1645 – Listen to them moan about not being able to wait until Dad and Dan get home and how you really HAVE TO COOK SOMETHING OR THEY WILL DIE!
1800 – commence to cut up the chicken thighs and watch as they all settle down cause they know SOMETHING is coming soon.
1810 – cut some bread and put it out (see 6:16 entry).
1815 – stand by as they start to get aroused by the aromas and they begin to move out of their rooms to circle you.

Caution them as they try to reach their hands into the boiling hot pans ONCE AGAIN and tell them things in hot pans ARE HOT (ONCE AGAIN) and they must take care not to burn themselves.
1816 –  After the first one yells because he’s burned, direct them all to the bread.

1830 – Tell them they can get food but caution them that Dad and Dan still have to eat.

1833 – Tell them yes they can get seconds but they can’t divide what’s left into 5. Dad and Dan deserve a full serving. They may get a second SMALLER serving. (Explain that a couple of times as they protest about “snoozing and loosing” yada yada.)
1845 – Sit and finish your drink just smiling cause you know your dinner (or at least the passive aggressive build up) was on time and on target!
1850 – Sit at your computer with a second glass of wine and reflect on how freaking lucky you are!

1855 –  Say “Yes you can be excused” and smile as they get up and start to clean the kitchen without being asked!!!!

They are satiated beasts at this point and will be relaxed and somewhat slowed in their next few movements.
2200 – Go to bed cause it is all going to happen again tomorrow and you need your strength!
Recipe – “What’s for Dinner Pasta”
Boneless chicken thighs salted and peppered on both sides
Cut boneless chicken thighs up into small pieces and cook in a pan in hot evoo. Drain and put in a holding pan. (Don’t move them around too much on each side. Let them brown-hard to do cause you worry they’ll burn so get on Facebook work something for about 4-5 minutes per side).
Start pasta water BUT DON’T PUT THE PASTA IN YET. Wait until you’ve melted the butter for the sauce (follows).
Sauce:
Same pan you cooked the chicken in. Leave the brown bits (that’s flavor baby) but get rid of the excess fat.
Melt 1 to 1.25 sticks of butter. Keep the flame LOW so it doesn’t burn.
Add either three diced garlic cloves or in a crunch put in about a tablespoon of garlic powder.
After that melts SLOWLY and is bubbly add in about 2 tablespoons of cream cheese.
Once that is melted and smooth add 1/4 cup of whatever spaghetti sauce you like.
Keep mixing. By now you should have had the pasta in the boiling water.
To the sauce ingredients add either a 1/4 cup of diced basil or about 2 tablespoons of the tubed basil you buy in the store. Sorry I like that for sauces cause it dissolves.
Add 1 tsp of red pepper flakes.
Keep mixing.
Add the cooked Angel hair pasta and some pasta water cause the pasta will soak up all the sauce…and you want it a bit saucy.
Once it is all combined and “stewed” for a couple minutes…throw the cooked chicken on top and tell the heathens it is ready to eat.

Parenting: You must be present to win!

Were I to settle upon one point of success reference this whole parenting thing; I’d have to say it is something that must be done in person. That doesn’t mean you have to be a stay at home parent. I’ve got friends whom I admire completely because they have raised such amazing children; and both are working parents or in some cases they are single parents raising their child. In all of those cases however, the parents have been involved actively, ever step of the way. That means they were involved in their child’s life in a routine way that allowed their child to feel accountable to someone who is vested in their lives.

My hubby and I went to our middle school open house for our 6th and 8th grader. It was interesting to see how the population of parents dwindle from elementary school to middle school. I do get it. By middle school we think they’re set in their paths and moving along. Given our “present to win” philosophy however, it was important for us to attend. My husband ran through my 6th graders schedule and I went through my 8th graders class schedule. Just ahead of my husband in line to speak to the homeroom teacher, a mom’s first sentence to the homeroom teacher went something like this:

“I’m (so and so’s mom). Would you mind telling me why my son had lunch detention on his BIRTHDAY the first week of school.”

Wow, there’s a way to introduce rapport with a teacher huh? Now a few things strike me. If you are approaching a teacher, in whom I hope you want to establish some authority for your child, why would you be so confrontational? Hello Mom…communicating is something the LISTENER does. If you shut her down up front you have a tremendous task ahead of you to get some sort of appropriate relationship established so you can build your child’s educational experience. Also, why in the world, if you are this upset, would you wait till the third week of school to approach the teacher (in a large group, inappropriate setting, surrounded by strangers)? Perhaps you thought the teacher would cloud over and say:

“Oh my gosh, your right. Little Johnny did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING and THAT’S why he got lunch detention.”

Couple of thoughts for a successful year:

-Teachers hold trump. Tell little Johnny that at school, the teacher is in charge just as much as you are in charge at home. Kids have to learn to follow the rules in order to shape their behaviors in a way that will lead them to a successful relationship with society. If you fight with the teacher about behavior you do not witness, then you’ve set your teacher and your child up for failure. A popular saying here is “if you believe half of what they say about me; I’ll believe half of what they say about you.”

-If there is an issue where you believe the process was mishandled, set up a private time/place for you to discuss the issue with the teacher as soon as possible. An immediate response is important especially if you are not in sync with the teacher’s approach. If, after a private meeting where you handle yourself in a professional way, holding onto your emotions (if it even goes there); if you still cannot wrap your mind around the teacher’s approach and depending on the severity of the issue, take a deep breath and step back; not too far back but let’s get past this and move on.

Now the teacher knows your “present to win” and will understand you are both are track with your approach. If you don’t think he or she gets that, tell her that!

“I want to be on track with you this year because I want it to be a great year for my son/daughter.”

Tell your child that while you may not competely understand the teacher’s approach, you do believe that she/he is in the school to educate your him and you will support the teacher in doing so. Then document the issue, date, time of the exchange, what your points were and what you understood the teacher’s points to be. If there is another issue of similar disagreement, you can step the process up (after once again discussing with the teacher) and move to an administrator if you are still dissatisfied and cannot come to an agreement with the teacher. Do this again, in a professional manner that will allow your child’s success be the center of the conversation

I received a call once reference my second son. Apparently he’d pushed a child down who was attacking one of his best friends. The assistance principal explained that regardless of the circumstances, a physical response couldn’t be accepted within the student body. I agreed that was the County’s policy, and my son accepted his punishment. At home we applauded Ben for his personal decision to not just stand by when a friend was being bullied. While Ben’s response didn’t fit in a system of zero tolerance (which I have issues with personally) his response WAS an example of a value we as a family support. I understood the AP’s bigger issue and we discussed it with Ben, but also made clear that we supported him (as did many of the folks at the school-but the school, of course, had to enforce the rules).

We all think our children are amazing; and, in fact, all of our children ARE amazing. But really, they all make mistakes. My kindergarten son lasted a whole 13 days before he was sent to the front office. Sweet Danny, sweet social, chatty, heartwarming Danny, recently came home with two yellows in a row. I trust the teacher (whom I’ve had for another child) and understood she was setting the standard for behavior for the year. I did however, exchange several emails with her for these rather minor transgressions to ensure Danny knew his teacher and I were on the same sheet of music.

“Danny” I told him, “don’t push the boundaries; set the standard.”

That is now our mantra as he gets on the bus. He’ll mess up again. I know and it’s okay. This isn’t a zero tolerance game. You learn by making mistakes and boy oh boy, I’d rather they learn them now when everyone around them wants them to succeed than when they are out there in the “real world”.

After having children involved in the public education system here in Stafford for a total of 18 school years spread over the four boys, I have never met an educator who wasn’t open to and almost pleading for a relationship with me that would foster my children’s success. You see it is also their success.

So be present to win, and learn to communicate in a way that moves an issue to resolution. No time for show boating, right fighting, or “showing that teacher”; blah, blah, blah. Be present in mind, in spirit and in physical being and you will win the prize! A healthy, educated child who will learn to make the most out of his situations in life.

Have a brilliant day!

d

Parenting Tip: Start your children with alarm clocks early in their education and make them responsible for their wake up time. It’s a small but important step toward them “growing away from you”. Don’t even TELL them about the snooze button.

Real Parenting

I had a hard time with my eleven year old last night. The trouble started when we went to his brother’s basketball game.

Now Sam HATES to unwrap himself from his computer games. He’s also not a big sports guy. I understand computer games are his passion right now and while we set limits to it, I try not to mess with his “on” time. When we have a game though, I like to have us all go and root for the brothers playing. We usually have fun ribbing and joking with one another while we’re watching the game but last night he was having NONE of it.

He was surly, angry and just unpleasant to both his brother and me. Eventually he moved to the other side of the bench and his younger brother Dan, decided he too could be rude to momma. Dan said a couple of unpleasant things and scooted over as well.

That was it. I was done. I was NOT going to be treated rudely by people whom I loved and cared about and act like it was okay. I stood up, motioned to his father that we were leaving and walked out. The two boys came running after me.

“No momma, we’re sorry; we’re sorry.” they cried after me.
Sammy was so upset he started crying saying

“I want to fix this. Let’s go inside and I’ll change my attitude mom. I promise.”

It took everything I had not to hug him up and tell him it was okay. That I understood and that I’d be happy to act as if nothing had happened.

But I didn’t.

I wanted him to know and understand that I have feelings too. That he and his brother couldn’t treat me poorly and expect everything would be okay as soon as they said they were sorry. I didn’t yell, I didn’t fuss; I just left. When we got home I went upstairs to my room and didn’t speak to them again.

I laid down that night with the youngest and explained to him that you cannot treat people you love rudely and expect them to automatically forgive you. I told him it hurt my feelings and that I didn’t particularly want to be around him when I got home which is why I went upstairs.
Of course he was sad, and he apologized. I told him I loved him and said goodnight.

Then Sam came in to say goodnight (I’d actually gone up to bed). He was breathing deeply like he does when he is stressed. I said goodnight and hugged him and told him I loved him. It wasn’t until this morning that we talked about what happened.

“Do you know why I was so upset last night Sam?”

“Yes mom.” he said.

“I won’t be treated poorly by you or anyone else Sammy. Do you understand that?” I asked.

“I do.” he said quietly.

As he left this morning I hugged him and said;

“I missed you last night Sam.”

“I missed you too mom.” he said.

So no funny stories for this one; just wanted to share some reality and say that as hard as it was and is, I think it is really important to teach your kids how to treat you. Some things are not okay and unless you set that standard with them I don’t think anyone else will teach them.

I shared this story with my exercise partner this morning. She told me that her nephew was complaining that his mom called him every day and he fussed at his mom somewhat rudely, saying sons don’t talk every day with their mothers.

“That’s a daughter thing.” he said.

“Do you love your mom?” my friend asked her nephew.

“Of course I do”, he replied, “I’d die for that woman.”

“Vince”, she said, “She’s not asking you to die for her; she’s just asking you to call her.”

Later that night she saw Vince heading upstairs with his cell phone.

“I’m going to call my mom” he said to my friend.

She smiled.

I guess it is never too late to learn a good lesson.

Have a brilliant day!

Yes Virginia

Yes, Virginia there is a Santa; but in truth he’s a bit oversold.

There’s a bigger person that’s working the season.

Now, that’s a story that ought to be told.

While Santa works hard for the holiday mirth and is often considered the cause,

 the real muscle and brains, as each woman knows, comes directly from one;

MRS. CLAUS.

She hangs up the stockings, she preps all the lights, she shops for the elves, and maps out his flights.

She buys for his office, preps food for his parties, she hangs out the wreathes, bakes cookies and tart

 (ies).

She shops for his brothers, his sisters and aunts, she matches his outfits, nice shirts with nice pants.

She brines the turkey, she preps the sprouts, she’s taking the photos and getting cards out.

Yes, he works hard and his work pays the bills, but without her this season would fall flat on its’ heels.

I mean really does he even know the elves’ sizes?

What type of dessert, Prancer’s favorite pie is?

No-he’s round and he’s jolly, and hangs with the kids, has not even a clue where the mistletoe is.

She wonders sometimes if all this toil matters;

then an elf wanders in, steals a cookie and scatters.

Pretty soon three more elves slip through the door,

“Man, those are great, can we PLEASE have some more?”

They walk away smiling, and munching and shine

“Gosh she’s just the BEST, don’t you LOVE Christmastime?

And amongst all the ribbons and glitter and cheer,

Mrs. Claus nods…

smiles…

 and sniffs back a tear.

Parenting Tip of the Day:  Hide those receipts.  I know you’re hiding the  presents but don’t forget that those little guys learn to read and if they find the receipts or the open bill from the credit company–YIKES LUCY–you got some ‘splainin’ to do.

Things I think:

Things I think:

1. If it is flameless…it is NOT a candle.  It’s a light.

 2.  If you are one of the four out of five women that cannot read a pregnancy test, you should NOT be having children.  You are stupid.

3.  Even if you didn’t take a little blue pill, any erection that lasts longer than 4 hours requires medical attention. Frankly, your wife needs to get examined too!

4.  Future episodes of Degrassi on the Nick TV channel should NOT be advertised during iCarly reruns; especially the ones about lesbianism.

5.  You should NOT check the “Correct Blemishes” box on your child’s school photo ordering sheet.  Kids should not think they need to be photo shopped to sit on their parent’s shelf.  They are perfect.

6.  Teenage kids should not be able to express themselves by wearing any part of a military uniform unless/until he or she has worn it in combat or in service to their nation. 

7.  Stay at home moms deserve the right to represent what they do at career day.  They don’t stay home because they are unable to do anything else.  It’s because they are putting their considerable talents into raising their children.  Trust me—it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

8.  If you are a commissioned officer in the United States military (or a retired officer drawing retirement pay) and you use contemptuous words against the President, you are in violation of Article 88 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice and are subject to a court martial.  Yes.  If you are retired they can reactivate you and court martial your butt.  That is the case even if you do it with a wink and a smile and a nudge.  Clean up your act.  You fight for democracy, you don’t live by it.    

9.  Skinny people do NOT eat McDonald’s food. 

10.  Going to the McDonald’s drive through, ordering coffee and having the little black box ask you “Where’ve you been?” is NOT a good sign.

11.  If you have 18 children, that’s enough.  Really, 18 of anything is enough.  If you cannot control yourselves please stay in separate rooms.

12.  If someone offers you a reality television show you are odd.  In some way you are odd and there is nothing good going to come of it.

13.  If you do get a reality TV show, when things in your personal life go to crap please, please, please don’t go on the talk show route and talk about the intrusion into your personal life.  Refer back to #12 and probably #2.  You are odd and you are stupid. 

14.  If airlines are going to sell food or alcoholic beverages then they should have adequate change for people who buy the food and beverages they have to sell.  I’ve been flying in airplanes since I was 16 years old and they STILL announce they can’t make change when you buy a drink.  Is this rocket science?

15.  If you are 24 years or under – you don’t have a “life story”.  Don’t write a book.  It makes us 40 somethings mad.  Only people that have lived longer than a horse should be able to write a book about their life story. 

16.  The world changes when both your parents have passed away.  If you are in this situation, you know what I’m talking about.  Home is no longer someone or someplace you go to visit.   There is a  painful hole that you will never fill with anything but sweet memories.  I respect the process and the whole circle of life thing, but I miss my mom and dad.

17.  If for some reason you are not speaking to one of your children, you need to fix it.  You are the parent, you are the grown-up, and you need to fix it.  It may hurt and it may be the last thing you think you need to do or you owe to your child; but someday you will die.  When you do, you want to leave someone grieving your loss.  It means you impacted a life. 

Your tombstone will not say:

“I was right by God”. 

and…

even if it does;

No one will come to read it.

Parenting Tip of the Day:  We struggled with our decision on letting the boys see their Grandmother’s body.  My husband was traumatized by that process when he was young and we all worried that perhaps our boys were too young.  In the end, we asked them for their thoughts.  We were very frank with our children that the body was not their grandmother that she’d left.  In honesty, they did not know her very well.  She was sick for about the past seven years.  They opted to be a part of the service and I’m glad they were there.  They heard me speak about her legacy and they rallied around me in support.  And the oldest, the one that did know her, he cried.  I’m glad he cried.  Some things are worth being sad about.

Things that Suck!

A guide to things that suck:

  •      Men that cheat on their wives.  They suck.  Hey buddy-have the guts to say something’s wrong and work on your marriage.  I’ve seen brilliant, beautiful, amazing women who’ve had their self respect and their family torn from them because he thinks he has the right to go outside of their marriage.  “She didn’t make me feel special anymore”.  Really? Grow up!  You are pitiful and you don’t deserve the women I’ve seen you tear up. 

 

  •     Women that cheat with married men.  They suck.  Remember when you were a kid and you couldn’t take something if it wasn’t yours.  IT’S THE SAME THING.  He’s taken.  He’s not yours.  Leave him alone and find your own man.  If he tells you what is wrong with his wife DON’T LISTEN.  He needs to work on his marriage PERIOD.  It is NOT your job.  There is NOTHING he is telling you that is true.  Honestly.  Even if she is as bad as he says-it is not your right to insert yourself into their marriage.  Have some self respect. 

 

  •     Moms that pass judgment when another mom messes up.  They suck.  I left my sweet, sweet son standing with his coach in a dark field (I mean pitch black) with another mom, and had to endure her calling me “ridiculous” for being late.  Hey lady, you suck.  And the coach that didn’t return my sincere note of apology with at least an acknowledgement – he sucks too. I was in a panic when I dropped the oldest at football practice and turned back to pick up my son on the soccer field and realized the sun was setting too fast and I would never make it.   I was nauseous when I got out of the truck and called to Sammy and heard his voice come back “I’m here mommy”.  YES, I SCREWED UP.  I should have, could have, and needed to do a million different things to NOT have that happen.  But I screwed up!  My son has accepted my apology; two nights later I’m still laying awake tormenting myself in that special way that we moms do when we err in our judgment and now I have to face this coach and this mom, still angry and ashamed of myself and somehow understanding and getting their judgment my of actions.  I PRAY I have more compassion the next time a mother does something wrong and take solace in the fact that I will stand there with her child waiting for her and when she shows the slightest angst about being late I will tell her “we’ve all been there and you need to forgive yourself”.

 

  •      People who throw their cigarette butts out the window.  They suck.  I hate seeing your mess on the side of the road; seeing your absolute disregard for the planet and for any sense of civility.  Grow up and clean up your act.  I don’t want to see your butt.

 

  •      Mean people. They suck.  Every time they talk mean to someone; either a waitress or a store attendant or an elderly gentleman driving in front of them; their children watch them and think THAT is the standard for humanity.

 

  •      Bullies.  They suck.  I see my children and other children dealing with the little snips and snarks that come from kids that are brought up thinking it is okay to hurt other kid’s feelings.  Not enough for a sixth grader to ask mom to intervene, but enough to hurt his feelings.  We have a family that is deeply involved in their faith living in our school sector.  Their commitment to their church and faith is terrific, but their son is tormenting another child in the neighborhood at school.  Get a hold of things and make sure that your kids are practicing what you preach. 

   

Some might say people who make statements like this suck.  Then I suck.  I do take a stand on things I think are wrong.  I HATE injustice and I hate feeling like I’m not making life better for someone.  I guess that is what I think life is all about.  Spreading the good and speaking out when you think something sucks.

Parenting Tip of the DayLet your children know that there are things that people do that are wrong.  FLAT OUT WRONG.  Not everything can be put into context or should be understood.  Teach them to stand up for things that are right.

There’s a Booger on my Lampshade

There’s a booger on my lampshade;

 a bunch sticking near my bed.

I’ve got quite a good collection

by the pillow near my head.

I don’t want my mom to find them

‘cause she fusses all the time;

about my picking and my digging

“It’s like you worked inside a mine”.

Sometimes I like to flick them;

they go clear across the room,

but I have to do it quickly cause

my mom could walk in soon.

“Don’t do that” she will holler;

first she’ll gag and then she’ll wretch.

Then she’ll rub my nose clean off

with some stupid, pink Kleenex.

I just can’t seem to help it,

there’s some in there I can tell.

 I love to clean them out but,

“No tissues near…oh well.”

There’ll be boogers on my lampshade;

and some tucked beside the couch.

A few flicked on the doggies;

maybe one inside my mouth.

But what’s a kid to do,

it brings me so much joy;

I simply must continue digging

after all, I am a boy!