Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Are moms a safe choice?

Yesterday we held our usual Daisy Girl Scout troop meeting. The topic was "courageous and strong" and we used the time to talk about a variety of scary situations the girls could find themselves in and what is the right thing to do. We talked about getting lost in the woods. We talked about stranger danger. We talked about fire safety. My co-leader led the meeting, so she was the one deciding what advice to give the girls about all these situations.

Her advice about what to do if you get lost in a mall/grocery store is stuck in my head. She advised the girls to go to 1) a cashier or someone who works at the store or 2) a mom with kids and tell them you are lost. It was the "find a mom with kids" part that is keeping my brain cells occupied. Are we suggesting that moms with kids are less likely to be child abductors or pedophiles? I don't know...maybe that's true. There has to be stats on that somewhere. She didn't say "a dad with kids" so maybe we think that women are safer than men. But then I started to think about "finding a person that works there" and I guess they could be a child abductor/pedophile too. But we have to pick someone for the kids to go to. Isn't a mom with kids a good choice? Maybe we assume that a mom with kids has enough trouble...uh...children...of her own that she doesn't need to take anyone elses. No, I know what she means. She means that we all know how moms feel about their kids and any of us would be glad to help another mother/child out. We choose to trust each other.

But it still feels a little biased.

It was essentially the same topic that Dear Prudence dealt with in her post this morning. Should a Dad take a Daughter into the womens or mens restroom? Prudence felt like the dad shouldn't go into the women's restroom to help his daughter and that the daughter probably didn't need to see men standing at the urinals...so the best option is to find a family restroom or to have another mom watch his daughter in the restroom. Again, are mom's really more trustworthy than other women?

I don't know if it is biased...and when I really thought about it...I'm not sure that I care. I certainly didn't change the advice for my kids. I do want them to find a mom (or dad) with kids if they get lost and ask for help. Whaddya think?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

testing -- ignore this

My blog posts aren't getting posted to Facebook in a timely manner. The blog-before-last didn't get posted on facebook until my last post seemed to push it through, and then the two blogs came through together. So I'm sending this test message through to see if this message will push through the blog that hasn't posted to facebook in the last three days.

Testing Testing

Friday, April 23, 2010

Boy meets World

I usually let Sweetness zone to 15 minutes of TV in the mornings while I grab a cup of coffee and try to turn into a useful human being. Today I noticed that old episodes of Boy Meets World was on one of the cable channels.

I remember loving Boy Meets World. I think about the current kid shows...iCarly, Big Time Rush, Zach and Cody...and the difference is stunning. I think the biggest difference that stands out to me is that the main character in Boy Meets World had loving, stable parents. iCarly has a dad out there somewhere, but she lives with her older brother (a bit of a dorky rebel who quit law school to be a sculpter, but hasn't managed to fess up to his father about that yet). Big Time Rush is about 4 teenage boys who move to Hollywood to become music stars. Only one of the 4 boys has a mother around. The rest of the boys apparently left their mothers behind in the midwest somewhere. Zach and Cody live in a hotel (or a cruise ship). Enough said, right?

See any parents or adults? Nope.

And the adults are hiding...

What's the deal with that? One of the main themes of Boy Meets World was the independence struggle that teens have with their parents. The sneaking out. The dealing with hard situations with their friends and needing adult guidance. The crushes. In the current kid television shows, there is no STRUGGLE for independence...the kids ARE independent. There are no "lets keep the door to the bedroom open while you study" scenes, because it is totally okay for the kids to date whomever they like...however they like...at any age. There is no parent around to say anything about it. It goes without saying that the kids are thrown into situations in those shows that no loving parent would stand back and observe from the sidelines. And really, that seems to be the point of all the shows: that the characters peer groups are their advisors and their families. That is who they are shown to interact with and that is who is important to them.

Am I making a big deal about nothing? Maybe. Perhaps Boy Meets World had its own 80's version of counterinfluence that I'm missing because I am a product of that generation. But I think that is exactly why this concerns me. Because I don't want my kids to grow up thinking it is normal for their friends to be their advisor and their parents to sit back and let them be independent when they are teenagers. I want to be there to provide boundaries...to see dangers before they see them and be willing to make unpopular choices to keep them safe. I get that the teen years is a time of separation from one's parents as they prepare to be on their own as adults...but that is supposed to be a process that runs throughout their teen years, right? Not as soon as they hit 14. It is supposed to be a little bit of a push/pull situation as both the parents and the teens learn what they can handle and what they can't.

Sigh. Okay, that's my rant for today. Stay tuned till next week when I blog about the dangers lurking in breakfast cereal commercials... (just kidding)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

This one's for the Girl Scouts...

Today was my first Daisy Girl Scout troop field trip. We had so much fun! We went to the Camp River Ranch, which is in Carnation by the Tolt River. It is a 425 acre property owned by the Girl Scouts. They host activities there (like the "help it grow" activity we joined today), as well as day camps, over-night camps, troop and family camping, hiking, and more. Today the weather was sunny and beautiful...just perfect.

Here we are, just after we arrived at the camp.

The camp staff started out the festivities with some story time. Our girls were great! They all sat quietly and listened. I must figure out the trick the staff used to capture their attention and hold it through 2 stories.

After story time, it was time for our troop to have "tea". Lemonade, cookies, carrots and cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches was hosted by a troop of Junior Girl Scouts. Most of our girls skipped the cucumber sandwiches, but at least they did it politely!

The Junior Girl Scouts then taught our girls a bunch of songs and played games with them.
The girls loved it and joined right in.

Next it was time for our girls to make their concrete stepping stones.
They collected pieces of nature and also used some colored glass to create a design in their pans.

After that, they were allowed to help mix the concrete and spread it into their pans.

It was a little messy, so some handwashing was next on the agenda.

Funny how even handwashing can be fun when you are allowed to do it outside and splash a little...

We had a few moments before our next activity started, so the camp director took the girls on a little hike. The girls loved the freedom to run around a bit and the Tolt River was beautiful!

The girls were given some time to explore the cabins used for overnight camping. A raccoon visited a nearby tree during their exploration, so the girls experienced some animal sightings too (they also saw dear in the meadow).

Now it was time for our gardening adventures. The girls planted cucumbers and beans.
They watered their seeds and also did some weeding in other areas. If the girls go back for any activities in the summer, they will get opportunities to see their stepping stones and eat some of their produce.

The last activity was playing games. The game leader found us a nice spot in the shade and led the girls in a bunch of running-around games. We chaperones were already getting tired, so it was time to tire the girls out!

One final Girl Scout circle with all the girls and it was time to go home!

If anyone has interest in seeing all the pictures, let me know and I'll post them on a share site for all to view.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Have you read this story?

I'm reading the story of how fellow blogger The Pioneer Woman fell in love with her husband...the Marlboro Man. Fellow blogger is probably overexaggerating our relationship. She has readership in the millions. I'm working on reader #12, last I checked.

I am enthralled by her story. The romance, her fumbles, her constant discussion of what was going on in her head...it keeps bringing me back to her site, reading chapter by chapter, eager to hear how it ends. Even when I know how it ends. That is the sign of a great book...when you know how it ends, but you are still so eager to experience it. Her story is called Black Heels to Tractor Wheels.

I don't think I can turn the story of how I met and married hubby into a 3 page story, much less 20 chapters, but reading her book makes me want to try. I think I would have to make up a whole bunch of details because I have a lousy memory. Maybe I should write it...then whatever details I make up will find their home in my memory and I'll finally have a story worthy of telling our children. A made up story, but a story none-the-less! =)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cooking through Rachael Ray -- Meal 1

The first meal I tried from EVERYDAY WITH RACHAEL RAY was turkey burger drumsticks (Remember my last blog post?). This recipe caught my eye because I thought the kids would eat it and it only required 5 ingredients: ground turkey, evaporated milk, onion, cornflakes, cheese.

First, let me say that the 5-item recipe thing is a hoax. It is 9 items...apparently they don't feel the need to count salt, pepper, olive oil and the wood skewers. Not that 9 items is so bad, but it is more than 5. Let's keep it honest folks.

Second, it said I needed a medium-hard white cheese. I chose the extra sharp white cheddar cheese (black label at Costco). I don't think it was hard enough...or maybe it was too hard. Step one in the recipe was to stick the wood skewer into the chopped sticks of cheese. The wood skewers split the sticks of cheese wide open. So that didn't work. The sticks went into the garbage and we plodded on.

So you mix the ground beef with a little evaporated milk and wrap it around the cheese sticks. At this point, dinner does NOT look very appetizing. But we plod on.

Then you dip the turkey/cheese lumps in more evaporated milk and then roll them in smooshed corn flakes (only I used smooshed rice chexs). Put the lumps into a hot fry pan with olive oil (I used canola) and fry them for 6 minutes per side.

I'm pretty sure I cooked them for longer than that. I didn't want to cut into one of them to ensure the turkey was cooked all the way through, so I just cooked it 5 minutes longer. I'm glad I bought special white cheese for the recipe instead of using the yellow-orange cheddar I always have in the fridge. The cheese melts out of the turkey lumps while they are cooking and I think the yellow-orange cheddar would have looked icky oozing out.

Okay...so here's what they were supposed to look like:

And here was our dinner:

Yes, those are tater tots. Get over it.

Family rating -- everyone said they liked them (a modern day miracle at the Sanford house) and Sweetness went back for seconds. Spunky Girl and the Big Guy didn't finish their dinners, but they never do. I would say my first attempt at a Rachael Ray recipe was a success. The only downside is that it took me nearly an hour to prepare, which felt too long for me.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I brought 4 back issues of the EVERY DAY WITH RACHAEL RAY magazines with me on our last trip. I don't subscribe to that magazine, so I've only read the magazine before while sitting in doctors' offices. I read through 3 copies before I realized that the point of the magazine isn't supposed to just be pleasureful flipping through the pages. Maybe I was actually supposed to attempt some of the yummy (yummo?) food pictured inside.

So I chose one of the magazines and tagged the recipes that met 2 of 3 of the following criteria:
* Do I want to eat this?
* Will my kids eat this?
* Is this a practical menu choice considering the cost of groceries?

Here are the recipes that I tagged from the Sept 09 issue:
* Vanillla Bean Crepe Mix from Target (okay, not really a cullinary challenge, but it sounds good. They recommend filling them with applesauce, butter, honey and pecans.)
* Turkey Burger Drumsticks (obviously a kid choice. I don't need my burger to be on a stick, but if it makes the kids eat...)
* Three Cheese Manacotti (with homemade noodles)
* Tilapia with Roasted Corn
* Horseradish Mac'n'Cheese with Bacon (this one is all for me!)
* Leek and Gnocchi Bake (I've always wanted to cook with leeks -- call it a dream)
* Pasta e Fagioli with Sausage
* 2 Alarm Chili Cups (bite size phyllo cups filled with chili)

So what sounds best to you? What should I start with?

Did I mention that I'm also calorie counting again. Hmmm.....

Monday, April 5, 2010

Visiting Grandpa Joe and Grandma Gayle

Spring Break, and some bargain online shopping, allowed us the opportunity to go visit hubby's grandparents. We headed out Tuesday morning on a flight to San Francisco. Hubby's paternal grandpa lives in Santa Rosa, California with his lovely wife Gayle. Grandpa Joe and Grandma Gayle stay in a delightful retirement community and we always know to get dressed up if we've accepted an invitation to dine with them.

The kids were VERY well behaved, especially considering they traveled from 7 am till 5 pm in order to see their grandparents. The big guy let out some of his energy at dinner time by politely walking back and forth to the doorway and back. A few times his feet were tempted into a run, but he reminded himself of his surroundings.
(I guess Spunky Girl's plate on her head isn't a shining example of what to do in a nice dining hall, but I was still super-pleased with their overall behavior.) A little ice cream after dinner never hurt anyone!

Grandpa Joe and Grandma Gayle had a surprise box for the kids with lots of little easter gifts and books for the children. Those are always appreciated and come in handy on a trip! We returned to Santa Rosa the next morning to dine for breakfast and afterwards took a tour of the community grounds. They have lovely landscaping!

We're so pleased that we were able to visit Grandpa Joe and Grandma Gayle. I hope another opportunity presents itself soon!