Monday, August 13, 2012

on parenting (and a challenge update)

Update first:
I had grand plans for my kitchen time this past week, which included trying out several new recipes from my borrowed cookbooks.  But of course, the best laid plans rarely see the light of day around here, and so here is the honest truth:  while I did make a few things (not from any cookbooks), we ended up eating oatmeal....twice.  At first I was feeling really bad about my efforts this past week and was dreading listing our meals out for you today.  But then I realized that this blog is about real life and sometimes real life is about eating oatmeal....twice.  So here's my list for the week:

Blueberry banana muffins
Scrambled eggs and toast

Tomato, basil, and mozzarella sandwiches - yum.  Tommy tried this sandwich this week and immediately declared that he is now a tomato lover.  Check that off the parenting to-do list! I saw this in my newest Food Network magazine and had to make it immediately.  The ingredients are obvious, but I will advise you to put your bread under a broiler for a few minutes to toast it up, and then make their suggested dressing:
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp dried basil (I used fresh since I didn't have dried and just added a bit more)
pinch of sugar
salt and pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Leftovers (I love a lunch of leftovers.  My husband does not.)

08/06 Monday  Oatmeal with toast/blueberry muffins

08/07 Tuesday  (We spent Tuesday and Wednesday with my father-in-law and his wife at Lake Anna.  I didn't do any cooking at all, but we did eat at the cabin both nights even though they wanted to go out one night.)  Hotdogs, hamburgers, baked beans, roasted potatoes, tomatoes

08/08 Wednesday (At Lake Anna)  Baked spaghetti, salad, garlic bread

08/09 Thursday  Scrambled eggs, tater tots, toast, tomatoes  (One important thing to know about me:  I LOVE breakfast at all hours of the day. I almost always plan to eat breakfast for dinner once a week.)

08/10 Friday  Pasta with meat sauce and cheese - Tommy's favorite meal

08/11 Saturday  Taco salad (corn chips, rice, ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, salsa, and I added some cooked onions and zucchini that we picked up at the farm stand that afternoon - see below for pictures of my new favorite place.)

08/12 Sunday  Oatmeal with almonds and blueberries

So there you have it.  Our week in food.  Nothing glamourous, but all home-cooked and all good. 

On to the parenting part of this post.  Another place I've been driving by for years now is this:

It's a farm stand on the same road as the sunflowers.  You pull off the busy busy road onto the gravel driveway, park in the dirt in front of the barn, and immediately see this sign:

I accidentally cut off the top of it which says, "In God we trust."  Now don't worry, I'm not going to go off on a religious tangent here and try to force my beliefs on you.  But I will say this:  Around here, we believe in God. 

This little stand prompted a conversation with my five-year-old that we'd never had before (in the context of money and paying for things), mostly because we've never encountered a place like this before (except the sunflowers).  When you walk into the barn, there are several tables lined with vegetables from the gardens that spread out to the left.  There's no cashier, no camera.  Just a list of prices (5 onions for $1, cucumbers 25 cents each, tomatoes $1.25 per pound, zucchini $1 per pound), a scale, that sign, "In God we trust, Self Serve, Honor System," and a cash box.  You choose what you want, you put your money in, and you go.  But nobody's watching. 

And so I asked Tommy, "Why should we pay for this food?  There's no one here to make us.  Why can't we just take it and go?"  He thought about it for a minute and then said,
"Because that's what you're supposed to do.  You're supposed to pay for it."  So I prompted him again with that all-important question that he asks me about 100 times a day:  "Why?"  So we talked for awhile about how you should always do what you know is right even when nobody's watching.  Because for our family, there is always someone watching, whether it's God or our family members in heaven (and since I was talking to Tommy we thought about Gramma (my mother-in-law) and GB (my grandfather) who now "live in the moon").  I tried to explain it in a way that he could understand, but I'm never sure if I'm making things clear enough.  Trying to teach these big lessons to kids can be tricky.  It was a good conversation and one that I'm glad we had the chance to have. You can bet we'll be discussing it again when we go back to make sure it sinks in. 

And so I wonder... If you have kids, how do you talk to them about things like this?  Do you second-guess your words?  Do you worry that you're not making things clear enough?  I'd love to hear your strategies. 

P.s.  Annabel got her first haircut last week.  Here's a before shot:

And after:

They cut so much off, but I can still get it up into pigtails.  All cleaned up and ready to celebrate her first birthday on Saturday!

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