Working mom puts family on her meal plan

I came across this column by Leslie Kaufman, New York Times, when I was online searching for help planning meals. I thought it was smart enough to share out to other working moms and moms who like to keep the cooking simple:


FOR the past 10 years, I have starred in my own reality series: “Working Mom Cooks Weeknight Dinner.” Think of it as “Survivor” meets “Iron Chef” with a bit of “Deal or No Deal.”

In the show’s long-running history there have been stretches in which the entire tribe was forced to subsist on scrambled eggs, tuna sandwiches and reheated Chinese food. But together we have overcome obstacles, gained wisdom and reached a point where my husband and I and our two boys eat balanced and even inventive home-cooked meals most nights.

This achievement is a bit of a wonder to my peers. So many of them struggle to eat dinner together, often waiting until the last minute to boil pasta and toss it with store-bought sauce or, more likely, dining on the leftover macaroni and cheese the babysitter fed the children. Some friends, otherwise civilized and professional, confess they resort to cold cereal... Read more


Mellow out? Trampoline injuries on the rise . . .

Several wrote in stating that the poll asking "Is it normal for a seven-year-old to jump out of a second story window onto a trampoline?" was so bogus that they refused to vote. Others wrote to say they were too embarrassed to answer "Yes" it's normal behavior... My own opinion is expressed in the two links below:
Trampoline injuries on the rise
The Splintered Mind
Overcoming Neurological Disabilities With Lots Of Humor And Attitude

If your child happens to jump from a second story window onto anything . . . read Ed Hallowell's books on AD/HD.


Postcard: Swiss Alps Jill

Bonjour Coco!

It's Jill, your second-cousin-twice-removed-in
-law, from the foothills of the Swiss Alps!

Nancy sent me your link today and I have spent the last hour reading; you are on the way to Tiger-Lily-ness, stay the course my girl. You have got me to thinking about Tiger Lily, and I agree with everything you have reported about her but:

1) Does Tiger Lily "need" an audience, or

2) Is it more true that we "need" Tiger Lily and so she "should" have an audience?

The whole point of Tiger Lily is that she is where she is and regardless of her audience her significance remains.

Perhaps this is one of life's great sadnesses, we don't recognize the richness of our own life and existence on its own merit, it is only when other people give us validation that we feel we have in fact achieved or overcome.

My own "Tiger Lily Dreams" are of myself in great old age, sipping a glass of bordeaux so earthy things are practically growing in it, before me is a view so verdant and pastoral I feel like Little Bo Peep without the spider, and I feel the present more vividly than I ever could in my youth because I know its fleeting.

In this vision, I am rich with experience and bouyed by the love I have felt from those who have touched my life through the years.

I should have an audience, but maybe, because of circumstance or distance, maybe I don't, yet my value remains. . . Of course, this evolution is so far from who I am presently, that I need to make tracks, but the embodiment of this dream is brilliant and shared by so many who don't have an articulate vision...

Tiger Lily warrants every moment I spend reading about her.
Au revoir from Cow Country and I look forward to your next installment.
Jill x

PS The more likely version of my old old age will be of me on the shores of Trout Lake bogarting a can of Schlitz, swatting mosquitos and trying to shock the younger family members with obscene Scrabble words.


Today, it was a total shoe meltdown

Yes, I am still here. Yes, I am back to work. It is going, okay (but that's the median).

My daughter, nine, is at a birthday party tonight. They are having pancakes and watching High School Musical 2. She was looking forward to it very much.

We went to our local toy store for a gift. Our budget for party gifts is always $15-$20, sharp; kid-wrapped with a homemade card. We usually have no trouble with that budget. But today was different. My girl walked up and down the aisles, forlorn, picking out $50 presents for her friend time and time again.

I was no-ing, and suggesting all manner of things when I noticed she was going to tantrum, and burst into tears. She kept saying, "She won't really like that. That's not really her style. I am not really sure that that's her thing."

SOOOOOO complicated, it seemed.

I finally put the whole thing on pause and we left the store. I held onto her little hand gently and blurted, "You are a very good friend. You are thoughtful, you are happy for her birthday. (Long silence, quiet tears followed.) What is troubling you? Are you worried that your friend won't like you if you do not give her a very big, special present?"

She was silent. I added, "I don't think Z gave you a present last year at your party. And, come to think of it, I don't think that Z ever thanked you for that monogrammed headband you carefully picked out for her birthday last year." (All true, I might add).

"I know," she said. "She never said that she liked it either."

I started to get it. "So, why are you concerned about the gift you give your friend today?"

She could not answer.

"Let's keep it simple and fun. Can you let mommy take care of it for you?"

Not sure...

Several hours later, she decided it was time to dress for the party. She came down in a wild, mismatched outfit. The outfit felt confused and it was then an idea sprang out for me.

My daughter was working overtime to impress a friend she really wasn't sure she even liked . . .

When I told her the outfit was a little out of sorts for the occasion (not exactly like that) she burst into tears about the fact that she only has "high heels" (a.k.a., Mary Janes) for winter and since it was nearly 100 degrees outside, and I would not let her wear them, the whole outfit was ruined!

She cried for one half an hour.

She isn't deprived, but she felt a deficit . . . Z is a girl she likes a lot but who doesn't really pay much attention to her.

I figured it needed to run its course and she'd come out of it just fine. I was right.

Thirty minutes later when I went upstairs to see how she was doing, she had on the most natural, pretty party outfit ever: a soft three-tiered peasant skirt in chocolate brown, a gently faded pink tank top, and lovely, simple pink-sequined flip-flops. Her face was washed, her hair in a ponytail. She was plenty: Herself through and through.

We took a hard cover book from her shelf, wrapped it up and got her to the party on time.