Monday, December 15, 2014

Meekly Weal Plan

It's been a while since I wrote out my meal plan, but I have had a few friends talk about being in a rut with cooking. So maybe my ideas can help give them some of their own. I type this as I sit in bed and watch "Love Actually". It's Christmas man, I am doing what I should be doing. The house is quiet and clean. Ethan is finishing up a catering event for Ikea's Christmas party and I have a pint of peppermint bark ice cream waiting for him in the freezer for when he gets home and unwinds in front of the TV.

MONDAY: Sweet soy chicken and rice and roasted broccoli. The chicken is in my cookbook. I am not sure what page and I am too lazy to go downstairs and check.

TUESDAY: Turkey chili and cheddar cornbread. The chili will be a new recipe I have been wanting to work on. If it's a winner, I will post it here.

WEDNESDAY: Turkey burgers and roasted sweet potato fries. Who cares if it's winter, I am still making some burgers.

THURSDAY: Skillet-roasted chicken thighs, steamed broccoli and roasted potatoes.

FRIDAY: Church Christmas party. I signed up to make a soup. I haven't decided what to make. Chicken noodle? Red curry carrot? Ham, kale and white bean?

SATURDAY: Butternut squash soup and garlic crostinis for dipping. Do yourself a favor and spend the extra bucks to buy the squash already peeled and chopped. If you have to peel, gut and chop it, you are more likely to not make dinner at all.

SUNDAY: Braised shortribs with polenta and creamed horseradish and butterleaf salad with shaved fennel, oranges and pomegranates and some kind of dressing I haven't decided on. And a lemon cake with vanilla bean whipped cream. I have a dandy of time trying to find good shortribs, so I am sending Ethan to get me some from his fancy catering warehouse store in SLC.

Monday, November 10, 2014

If I could rewrite the song, "The Family is of God".

I am about to go out on a limb here. Make some enemies. Make people mad. But I have to write my feelings out. I just have so many of them!

The yearly Primary Program for church goes on at this time of year. The kids at church sing their little hearts out and all the primary leaders are stressed out of their minds. I have taught primary for 2 1/2 awesome years. I have loved it. I have gotten to know my kids so well. I know all the little things that make them tick. What they were for Halloween, when they lost their first tooth and who got a new bunk bed. I have gotten to know their siblings and parents and seen first hand that these kids are all loved.

This year in Primary, the theme has been families. The Family is of God. Which is something I have a testimony of. At the beginning of the year, the kids were taught a song called, "The Family is of God". And from the moment I heard it, it gave me a horrible pit in my stomach. Here are two verses from it. 

2. A father’s place is to preside, provide,
To love and teach the gospel to his children.
A father leads in fam’ly prayer to share
Their love for Father in Heaven.

3. A mother’s purpose is to care, prepare,
To nurture and to strengthen all her children.
She teaches children to obey, to pray,
To love and serve in the fam’ly.

Guys, I have such a hard time with these lines. And it's because I am very aware of some of the kids I have had over the years in my classes. A lot of these kids don't have the dad that does the proper Mormon "preside, provide". Some don't have dads that are members of the church. Some don't have dads at all. The ones that have dad's that aren't members, I know these men are really good men. They don't teach the gospel to their kids, but they are hardworkers, kind and loving. So when I see the kids in Primary told to belt out this song that I know don't have the dad that "leads in family prayer", I get so bummed. They are forced to think about their dads and get to figure out they are not what the church wants for them. That sucks.
The 3rd verse is hard for me too because in this house, the dad does the exact same thing as the mom. Ethan has just as much responsibility as I do to nurture, teach and serve. Where's the verse that talks about the girl in my class where her mom does both roles? Who burns the parent candle at both ends? Why can't this song talk about roles instead of purpose and place? Inside the church, the family has changed. Both parents provide, lots of parents are divorced, some are inactive. This is a reality for a lot of families. Many people have told me that it's good the kids are singing this song. It teaches them what they should strive for in their families someday. Guys, these kids are tiny. Let them strive for this when they are teenagers. 

In my perfect world, the song says, "A parent's place is to preside, provide" and "A parent's purpose is to care, prepare." I would say in most homes, it's a pretty equal share of presiding, teaching and preparing. I have heard so many people rave about how much they love this song. And every one of those people has the exact family situation they are referring to in this song. None of them have an inactive spouse or are divorced. Trust me, I have been paying attention.

Please don't crucify me over this. Don't rip into me. This is just how I have felt for about 7 months. Every Sunday. As a primary teacher to 12 strong, smart and eager-to-learn kids.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

7:30, Kindergarten, Hoarding

1. Rhea Pearlman as Danny Castellano's mom on "The Mindy Project" is just the best.

2. Since Daylight Savings ended (or started. Which one is it?), I have had my kids in bed and house clean by 7:30. I told Ethan this was my new plan. Make bedtime an hour earlier because our growing babies need more sleep. It has been MAGIC. And the kids haven't fought me on it. They have gone to sleep because SURPRISE, they are tired.

3. Van started Jr. Jazz basketball and here we see where his age and height give him an advantage. He is an older kindergartener. He went into K being an old man at 6 years old and already having lost 4 teeth. He is the tallest in his class and the oldest. So in basketball, he shines. It has been good for him to have confidence in this.
      a. I have had many people ask me about how I held Van back a year from kindergarten and if it was good for him. Absolutely. Best choice by far. Since he is a June birthday, we could have gone either way. But I am finding that it isn't so much that he is smarter having had two years of preschool as much as it is that he is more mature. He doesn't fight me on homework and is even eager to do it. He doesn't get in trouble at school because he is mature enough to know when to quit. And he doesn't give up on things that are hard. It's a drastic contrast from his brother's kindergarten year. Oh Jack in kindergarten. Worst year for all of us. 

4. It's November. Which means I get giddy to get Christmas shopping done by December 1st. The lists have been made and I already found an Elsa and Anna for like $16 on Amazon a few weeks ago. Bahzam! Early Christmas shopping is socially-acceptable hoarding. That and food storage and emergency preparedness. Speaking of emergency preparedness, I am working on a post about that. I have learned so much in the last few months and I am feeling great about an earthquake or grand flood happening. Wait, first I need to get that big water filter I have had my eye on.

5. I took the two littles with me to vote today. And maybe I got all weird and weepy when I told them why we are lucky we get to vote and who George Washington and Susan B. Anthony are. With my job, I write short video scripts about anything from Hurricane Katrina to alligators to President Kennedy. I have written A LOT about the Revolutionary War and all that built up to it. And I am often in awe of what people went through to give us the rights and privileges we have.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A few things

I am known to not be very good at watching TV. People say, "Oooh, what shows are you watching right now? I need a new show." And I'm all, "Um, 'You've Got Mail' for the 398457934857 time while I fold laundry?" But guess what guys, I am watching "The Voice" like a seasoned tv-watching pro. I know they care, but I approve of the judges this season. I mean, Gwen. Come on. How many of you have bought the "Tragic Kingdom" album after seeing Gwen on "The Voice"? Because we did.

Tonight I had a conversation with my friend who is a high school teacher. She talked about a kid who got caught smoking while on campus and I asked her opinion, as an educator, how do you avoid having your kids smoke weed. She said a few things:
1. Inform them about drugs. Talk about them. Talk about the effects. Talk about reactions. Talk about addiction. Educate yourself so you can educate your kids.
2. Know their friends. Be aware of who they are with and get to know the kids they are around.
3. Don't think your kid will never get involved with drugs or alcohol. Don't be the parent that says, "My kid would never do that." Because teenagers can be dumb, be honest with yourself.

A side story along those lines: I have a friend who's daughter was up to no good with her boyfriend. My friend found out what her daughter was doing and she went to the boyfriend's parents to let them know what their son had been doing. The parents said, "I don't believe you. Our son goes to seminary." And guess what, 2 years later, their son was a baby daddy and in jail for heroin possession.

Tomorrow my clefty nephew Walt has surgery on his soft pallet. Send up a prayer, will ya? I will have Walt's big brother Sam tomorrow during surgery and Sam has asked for three things: nuggies, root beer and fries. DONE! Anything for you, Sammy. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

At the moment

At the moment:

Jack continues to kill it with spelling. The kid can spell like a total champ. He does the challenge word list and gets 100% without even trying. Ethan says he gets it from him, I say it's from me. I can spel reel guhd.

Van and Violet are tending to their grasshopper family. Guys, I can't handle it. Grasshoppers and all insects of the like are gross. Yet my two kids think they have family units and feelings.

I am debating offering free lessons on how to do the carpool lane at school because it is a TRAIN WRECK OVER THERE. I now have Jack walk to the church parking lot nearby to pick him up because I can't do it anymore. Guys, don't get out of your car to get your kid. That ruins the whole idea of a carpool lane. If you are having to put their seat belt on for them, it's time to have a seat belt summit at home and teach them. You say, "Oh, I have to get out of my car because the line is slow." Well genius, it's slow because you are all getting out of your cars. CAN YOU SEE I AM HAVING ISSUES?

It's nearly time for major league baseball playoffs and Ethan's is more hyped up than a meth addict. Viva los Dodgers! But really, I do want them to win because the last time they won, Ethan was 7 years old and he still remembers how great it was.

In the same vein as baseball, my boys are on a big baseball card high right now. It's an obsession. Jack organizes his by team, Van organizes by similar facial expressions. It sounds mean, but I am so glad my boys do baseball cards instead of Pokemon cards because I just don't get Pokemon.

I am working on a script for work about Adolf Hitler. The message that came with the script said, "Try and not make him sound like too much of a monster." Oh sure, make Hitler look normal. I will do my best.

Friday, September 12, 2014

At the moment

At the moment:

The kids are having Friday Night Movie Night. It's one of the only traditions that we have kept up over the years. Probably because it requires nothing of me. Just keeping the Netflix queue full. It's "Nancy Drew". When Nancy rolled out her sleuthing kit, Van got all giddy. Van is a sucker for "stuff". He wants everything. Garbage, tape, scissors, someone else's Legos, gum wrappers, spoons, sticks, bandaids. His little brain is always in working mode. He is always thinking of what he can do with crap that no one else wants. Like using duct tape, a stick and snow glove to make a secret gun. I already know what he is getting for Christmas. A box with his own duct tape, scissors, string, stickers, sticks and whatever weird crap he needs to make weird crap.

Ethan is huddled over his iPad watching the Dodgers vs. Giants game. We are nearly to October which means post season which means we watch more baseball than usual. Which I am not sure how that is possible. Guys, you should all be so proud of me. I dare you to find a wife that knows more about the Dodgers than me.

I have 9 new emails in my inbox that are telling what new scripts to write. I have this new rad job where I write scripts for short educational videos for an online textbook company. I have written about everything from the Pilgrims to Hurricane Katrina. Somedays my brain is complete mush from jumping from era to era. Like was it Dwight D. Einsenhower that sailed the Mayflower? But really, this is the best job. I had started the school year thinking "What in the world am I going to do now that Violet goes to preschool and I am left to my own devices?" And then this job came to be. It couldn't be more perfect.

Speaking of jobs, Ethan got a little part time gig as a chef at a senior center in Orem. He is able to do this between catered events. He comes home with the best old people stories. Like one of the residents asking him if he is the chef on the space shuttle. Or one old lady accusing a fellow Hispanic resident of being illegal. And then another who asking for a lift down the road because "this isn't my home! They don't know me!". Poor woman has lived there for 11 years. Ethan loves this new side job and I love the new stories.

This weekend, I have big food plans. Pulled pork with a balsamic barbecue sauce, corn on the cob with sun-dried tomato butter, garlic red mashed potatoes and some pecan peach crumble with vanilla bean ice cream. You are all invited over for dessert because the imbeciles I live with don't like cooked fruit. Idiots.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Neon, School Theme, Cupcakes

Today we did a little bit of school shopping. I have a hard-fast rule that we don't do a whole new wardrobe before school starts. I don't ever get a whole new wardrobe so for hell's sake, neither do my kids. For school, they get new socks, unders, shoes and a haircut. But I bent my rule today and they got some shirts. We found some killer deals, but guys, I can't believe I did it but I spent $10 on a pair of socks for Jack. ONE PAIR. Boy's style these days is tall socks. Preferably neon tall socks. Jack begged and pleaded and I relented. $10 for neon orange socks that go up to Jack's knees. It's such a funny trend right now. Ethan is vocal about his distain and I tell Jack that Dad is old-fashioned and grouchy.

With a lot of families, the new school year often comes with a family theme. "Go and Do", "Choose Happiness", "Love One Another", "Return with Honor" etc. In the past, we have done a theme. One year it was "Put Your Damn Clothes In The Laundry Basket" and the other year it was "Stop Talking to Your Parents Like They Are the Stupidest People You Know" and last year was "I Am Sorry, But Your Brother Is Your Best Friend And That's The Way It Is." This year, I am thinking about having a family gang sign instead. Something really gangster, west coast gangster. Once I figure it out, I will let you know.

I got to do some gender-reveal cupcakes today for my friend Christina. I love doing those. I love knowing before they do. Luckily, they wanted a girl and they were thrilled when they bit into the cupcakes and there was pink filling. I have done gender-reveal cupcakes twice now and both times it was a girl. If you want a girl, have me make your gender-reveal cupcakes and you will get a girl.

Currently Violet is covered in mud from the backyard. Lots of mud. I am sure she needs a bath but I keep shooing her away. I should probably go take care of her. Oh, and Jack just told me he watched a rolly polly be borned. So there's that.