Posted in Uncategorized

Eat Fat/Live Thin(ner): Spaghetti-squash “Latkes”

Good morning! Special thanks to Diane for inspiring this post! And I greatly appreciate those of you who let me know you’ve tried my recipes, read other posts, etc. Y’all make my day!

Happy 5th day of Hanukkah to my Jewish friends, co-workers, readers and anyone else who celebrates the Festival of Lights. Wishing all of you peace and joy during this very special time!

Since I drool over pretty much anything potato, I’m always excited during Hanukkah: one of its days involves cooking as part of education–yay! This typically results in the aroma of LATKES frying wafting through the corridor, snagging me and leading me directly to the door of “Miss Sara’s and The Queen of Cool Who Rules the School’s” classroom.

Of course, I said I wouldn’t do it. But: I’m as human as the rest and Hanukkah is once a year. Let’s just say I broke my adherence to quasi-keto ways. I scarfed TWO of those amazing gifts that Hanukkah provides this non-Jewish girl every year—yes, I know I look the part—and stayed out of that room the rest of the day.

Like the aroma in the school halls, however, the thought of latkes permeated my mind all day. The day before, coincidentally, I cooked some leftover spaghetti squash into fritters and realized what was left would be an awesome, keto-esque substitute for the real thing. (That’s the thing about the keto community. We give up our carbs but are forever on the hunt for reasonable facsimiles of carby recipes. In other words, we want to pass on the cake but eat it, too!)

So, to not drag this out any more, here is a recipe for spaghetti-squash “latkes” (because Diane asked)! Please note, I used about a quarter’s worth of a large (?) squash’s leftover strands to get what you see in the photo, made in a 10-inch fry pan. Also note that I kind of threw this together so I didn’t measure anything, but the amounts I list should be enough for half a roasted squash.

Ingredients:

pulp of half a roasted spaghetti squash (see recipe below*)

1 egg, lightly beaten

1-2 tbsp of almond meal or almond flour

1/4 cup (or so) shredded Parmesan cheese

parsley

salt and pepper to taste

oil for frying (I use canola or olive)

Directions:

Strain squash strands through a colander or large strainer to remove excess watery by pushing down and stirring. (This VERY IMPORTANT STEP makes it easier to turn the fritters later.) Transfer to a mixing bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients and stir together. (The consistency was on the creamy side.)

Heat oil in a (preferably non-stick) fry pan over medium to medium-high heat.

Drop mixture by soup-size spoon spoonfuls into oil. (That’s probably a little bigger than a tablespoon. Any bigger and you most likely won’t be able to flip these babies.) Fry until edges and bottoms start to brown;flip and continue frying until cooked through.

TIPS: Fritters should look like those in photo before attempting to flip them. I strongly suggest spraying your spatula with cooking oil before turning fritters too. Alternate idea: if your frying pan is oven-safe, you can put it in the oven under a low-broil flame to finish cooking without having to do the flip!

Transfer to paper towel-lined plate (to drain some of the oil). Es gezunterheyt! (Yiddish for “Eat in health!”)

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*Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients:

One spaghetti squash (cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed**)

Oil of choice (I use olive)

garlic salt, lemon-pepper (or salt, pepper, etc of choice–or skip salt entirely for low-sodium diet)

Brush each half of squash with oil and season to taste. Bake at 425-450º F for 35-45 minutes until flesh is a little browned and you can pierce skin easily with a fork.

Scrape spaghetti strands out with a fork (you’ll make it down to the skin if you baked long enough).

Enjoy as is and/or use as a pasta substitute!

**A cauliflower cutter makes removing the seeds so much easier. Best li’l investment ever!

Have a great day and weekend! If you try the recipe, let me know how you it turns out!

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, 2018, content and images (unless otherwise specified).

 

 

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Posted in Discipline vs. Control, Parenting, Uncategorized

Discipline Vs. Control–Part 6: Tips for Navigating the Parent’s Journey (or Wrapping Up “The Eraser Story”)

Hope all of you enjoyed a peaceful Thanksgiving. If Black Friday is your thing, hope that was fun too! (I much prefer being home and leaving the super-sales to those brave souls willing to camp out in the cold then brave the crowds. Ain’t nuthin’ in particular I need that I can’t get at some other time; I’m sure I was a tad tired after hosting Thanksgiving. (No major mishaps this year, except Hubby and I BOTH forgot making the ham; we remembered as he was carving the turkey just before we sat down for dinner. Oh well. It’s in the fridge waiting for Christmas!

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Too bad it’s not this easy!  (Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com)

So: In my Election Day post  I promised a few tips a parent might consider to make the journey more manageable:

*Talking with professionals who deal with kids on a regular basis can be very helpful. If you’re struggling, get in touch with a teacher, pediatrician, psychologist, related service provider (i.e., physical, occupational or speech therapist) or behaviorist.

*Read parent forums and use information there as a springboard to give you an idea of what your child’s need might be. Remember that none of that information is gospel and should be used only as a guideline for further action that might be necessary.

*Talk to other parents, especially those who have “been there and done that.” Their experience might definitely inspire and/or benefit you!

*Finally, and possibly most vital, look at your own motives and your own behavior. My behavior shouldn’t be  be driven by what I want. It’s about guiding my kids to be the best adults they can be by providing them an opportunity to learn via discipline.

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Guess it’s more like this! (Photo by Valentin Antonucci on Pexels.com)

Hope this is helpful! Please feel free to share any thoughts, ideas, experiences, etc in the comments and/or on my Facebook page. And if the content speaks to you, sharing the word on your own social media pages helps spread the word!

As always, many thanks for your time here–it is greatly appreciated!

Have a peaceful day,

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, 2018, content and images (unless otherwise specified).

Posted in holidays, Reflections, Uncategorized

Thanksgiving: Memories of the Meal That Almost Wasn’t

So, folks, Thanksgiving is a day away, and we typically host the big day.  (We’ve had up to 18 regulars, including me, Hubby and “da boys.”) I’ve done this! I’ve almost got a routine worked out!

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And yet, mishaps happen, no matter how prepared or experienced one is.

I’ve been married over 24 years and have had Thanksgiving at my home 23 times. A relatively small house fire pre-empted Year 12.) That translates into 22 successfully cooked turkeys, right?

We-e-e-ll… Lucky Year Number 13 had its share of errors. Turned out to be quite a comedy of them. That year…

(1) Hubby brought home a twenty-nine pound bird. (The man loves doing things on the grand scale.) We’re lucky we got that bad boy in the oven. (I mean, who measures the bird’s height at the food store?) Good thing my mother-in-law had recently given us a counter-top multi-function broiler-oven unit. Without it, there would have been no side-dishes that day—at least, none done in time to serve with the turkey.

(2) While stuffing this creature, bleary-eyed at 6:30 AM, a quick glance at the cooking times suggested roasting him close to seven hours. No biggie—until I realized the directions stopped at the twenty-four-pound mark. (Oh, and I’d already scheduled everything around a two-o’clock dinner time after putting the bird in at 6:45 AM. Good thing my mom brought those appetizers.)

(3) Of course this monster-sized critter’s foil pan needed to be supported underneath, so I placed it on a baking sheet—with a plastic market bag under it to keep raw turkey juices off the counter. About three hours into cooking I uh, went to baste that baby and noticed the Plastic. Was. Still. There. (How nothing smelled of plastic was beyond me, but I went with it, removed the bag and replaced the baking sheet with a clean one. The one from the oven was now coated with melted plastic. I tossed it. What else could I do?)

(4) A while later, I heard way too much sizzling coming from the oven—smoke, too. This bird’s drippings were beyond the roasting pan’s capacity to contain. Hubby lifted Tom out; we drained as much liquid as we could, had a good laugh and put the monster back in the oven along with a few sweet potatoes. (I piled them onto the side of the pan.)

(5) Fast forward ninety minutes later: I pull big-bird out to baste. The oven was way cooler than it should have been. Er, I’d forgotten to turn the oven back on after mishap #4. (Add praying no one ends up with salmonella to the to-do-on-Thanksgiving-list. At this point, poisoning by petroleum and/or food were both significant possibilities.)

Despite the potential for disaster, that holiday meal somehow came together. My kids, ages thirteen and eleven at the time, kept their four favorite little cousins (aged 7-3) entertained on the trampoline or with video games until dinner was ready—by 3:30.

Not bad for a near-disaster, right? While we waited, my mom and my brother did the Italian drive-each-other-nuts thing that everyone else ignores or laughs about. The turkey turned out incredibly moist, tender and delicious–no hint of petroleum there! 😉 My stuffing got its usual raves—and did I mention? I forgot to put one part of the basket assembly into the coffee maker. Did that once before and ended up with coffee all over the counter. That Thanksgiving, we were spared such puddling. Then again, once the counter is piled high with all the leftover food, who would notice brown liquid on the tan-n-brown-speckled counter?

Feel free to share your Thanksgiving memories here!

Wishing all of you a wonderful, peaceful holiday!

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, 2018 (content and images)

 

 

 

Posted in Discipline vs. Control, Parenting, Reflections, School-related, Uncategorized

Discipline vs.Control–Part 5: Election Day, Pumpkin Pancakes and “The Eraser Story” (or How to Start Your Day Over)

Hello! Yes, it’s been a while–far too long, in fact. Recently I’ve been popping images of low-carb/keto recipes I’ve been trying on Facebook. (Not my own, most from Pinterest). A friend/mom-of-five suggested I start a blog. Hah! I have two and none has seen much action in a very long time.

This segues me into today’s post, (i.e., I can start posting–we’re going to try for consistency–at any time 🙂 .) This is installment #5 of my Discipline vs. Control series. (Coincidentally enough, I left off at #4!** Election Day got me thinking about it for many reasons, partly because an Election Day episode with my kids inspired me to write it 10+ years ago. And pumpkin pancakes too, which I made this morning–keto, of course 😉 ).

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Okay, parents, or anyone who works with kids on a regular basis. We’ve all lost our cool and said or done something regrettable, yes? (Raise your hand if this applies. Come on, no one will know but you and your screen—and remember that confession is good for the soul!)

I’m sure I’ve lost my cool and composure in numbers approaching the triple digits. Comes with parenting territory, a place I’ve lived for about twenty years now. (My stepsons were eight, four and six when I met my honey, and they were regulars at my house for the first five or six years we were married. They then moved with their mom and her husband, but by then I had two full-time kids of my own.)

This incident took place with my full-timers, on Election Day (we’re off from school) when they were grammar-school age. I wanted to take them to IHOP for pumpkin pancakes, which had sort of become an Election Day tradition. Before we left, all I’d asked is that they make their beds (i.e., pull one measly comforter neatly in place onto their beds) and get dressed.

Well, boys will be boys (clichés are clichés for a reason, folks) and mine did…NOTHING…related to what I asked. After my fifth (?) or so time of repeating the direction, I lost my temper. BIG. TIME. Said things I’m fortunate memory loss mercifully washed away (can I blame hormones?) and wouldn’t dare repeat if I did remember. (In other words, when I couldn’t control the situation I got MAD.)

Rather than beat them senseless, I left their room and went downstairs. Most likely, I cried and wondered how in the world I’d undo my behavior (in essence, a tantrum—yep, grownups have them too). Luckily, I remembered an invaluable quote: Whenever I choose, I can ‘start my day over any time.’

As I stated in my previous post, don’t ask me where I get this stuff. For inexplicable reasons, I got three erasers out of the pencil drawer. I went upstairs and handed one to each of the guys. I then said Mommy had behaved badly; that a lot of ‘bad behavior’ had taken place in their room and that we were going to erase all the bad behavior away.

Well, we did just that–air erased all that ‘bad behavior’ away. I’ll be darned, that insane little idea changed the mood for the day. The boys got their acts together—as did I—and we had a great breakfast and a good rest of the day.

Next post: a few tips on how to make the parenting journey a little more manageable!

Back to you:

Have you lost it as a parent? If so, what did you do to ‘turn it around,’ as Hubby likes to say? What were the results? By all means leave a comment! And please SHARE the content on Facebook–or your preferred social media platform(s)–should you feel the desire to do so! That would be greatly appreciated by me! Thank you!

**For those who want to catch up on this series:

Discipline Vs. Control–Part 1

Discipline Vs. Control-Part 2

Discipline Vs. Control-Part 3

Final word: it’s Election Day! Get out there and exercise the freedom to vote! Every vote counts!

Thanking you for your time and wishing y’all a blessed day,

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, 2018, content and images (unless otherwise specified).

Posted in Uncategorized

Discipline vs. Control–Part 4: An Opportunity to Learn

Good day, everyone! This one is short, but it remains a powerful example of what happens when I stand back and let things play out.

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www.pexels.com–Navigating the parent(s) journey together…)

For those of you wanting to catch up:

Discipline Vs. Control–Part 1

Discipline Vs. Control-Part 2

Discipline Vs. Control-Part 3

My younger guy—the now eighteen- and then thirteen-year-old I occasionally give up for Lent—is still a tad inflexible in his thinking. Once he has an idea in his head, he’s often difficult to redirect.  I can also tell you, he’s sometimes not nice when he doesn’t get his way.

Like his mother, he likes order and visually pleasing spaces. One evening, he wanted to hang a curtain in the doorway between the laundry room and the semi-finished area of the basement where he hangs out to play video games. I hung the brackets for a rod there about 8:30 PM and gave him an idea of how to thread the curtain onto a rod. (He got one from my bedroom closet about an hour later.)

I’d just sat down  to check email (circa 10 PM) when he started calling for help with the curtain rod, which he didn’t know how to get onto the brackets. Long story short, he started throwing a typical fit when I told him I’d help him the next day.

Rather than react—a.k.a. yell (and please don’t ask me where I get this stuff)—I told him he was putting me in the position of being a ‘bad parent’ if I went down to help him when he was behaving in such a manner.

He blustered some more then all got quiet downstairs. Next thing I know, he came up, gave me a hug and said, “I figured it out.” (Maybe I’ll give him up for only part of Lent.)

Had I reacted and started yelling, lecturing, etc, we most likely would have ended up in an argument and/or power struggle. In that moment, I learned, that by sitting back and sticking to my simple limit (“I’ll help you tomorrow”), I created a scenario that pushed him to problem-solve. Since he tends to be inpatient by nature, his desire to not wait for me until the next day willed him to find the answer on his own. I’m thinking he felt empowered by being able to do so, and maybe hugging me was his way of saying, “Thanks for the opportunity to learn, Mom(?)”) 😀

Back to your experiences. What’s worked for you? What hasn’t?

Next time, I’ll take this one step further: how to start over when you’ve really lost it with your kids.

A request: if you like what you read here, would you kindly take a second and click the Facebook, Twitter or any of the share buttons below? (Any others you like that might not be represented here works too!) Reblogging is equally nice, and helps get word out to others in cyberspace. By working together, we can make the ideas available here out to that many more people. Mega-thanks!

Enjoy the week,

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, 2017, content and images (unless otherwise specified).

Posted in Uncategorized

Discipline Vs. Control–Part 3

Happy Valentine’s Day! If you’re new or behind in this parenting series, here are the links to catch up with Part 1 and Part 2.

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Parenting–the never-ending work-in-progress puzzle 🙂

Today we’re picking up with the fruits of discipline. When my kids were younger, I was blessed to watch first-hand a great example of how my son and his friends utilized their available repertoire of fishing skills. I must say, I was quite impressed that day!

During the middle and high school years  mine was usually the go-to house, the one where kids often congregated. They’d hang out in the kitchen while I got dinner ready, cleaned or did whatever a parent tends to do. (That was before the DL’s became part of the kids’ lives. Now they’re working, or off in far more interesting places. Never knowing how many we’d have for dinner on any given day was occasionally stressful, but I can honestly say I miss those hopping times.)

Back then, the kids and I often engaged in conversation, and I took every opportunity I could to teach. (I hope I did so–and still do– without being preachy and/or without showing surprise, shock or disapproval for what the kids knew then that I had probably just begun learning at their age. They kept coming back, so maybe I did something right? I also happen to love middle- and/or high-school-age kids. If/When they don’t feel judged, they can be pretty open and a whole lot of fun to have around.)

Back to the fruits of discipline:

Older Son’s ‘core crowd’ was over on a Friday evening. One of the boys grabbed his coat when his girlfriend’s mother (the one whose dad is said to be strict) came to pick her up. He wanted a ride to a party to which he’d been invited by another friend who wasn’t present at the moment.

From the day kids started hanging out at my house, I’ve always told them the same thing: “When you’re here, I’m your parent.” (I still do, and have yet to come across one who doesn’t appear to appreciate it.)

Translation: I went into mother-mode and started asking questions.

In short, the boy couldn’t come up with the better responses any parent hopes to hear when a kid is off to a high-school party. The boy who invited the dude at my house was reported to have met the party host, a senior, earlier that day. (The inviter–to this day–is not known for sound judgment.)

At that time, I was dealing with freshmen. Parent or not, I was not in a position to tell the invitee he couldn’t go. I made that clear as I plied him with queries for details of where he was headed.

The core crowd of kids at my house chimed in, advising this guy to not go (for all the right reasons, too). He put on his jacket anyway and left with his girlfriend.

In five minutes’ time he came back, opting to hang out at my house for the rest of the evening. (A little while after that episode, that boy joined the wrestling team, and frequently voiced liking how it kept him out of trouble by being busy after school. I since learned that boy has TWO parents who struggle with serious addiction to this day. We’ll talk about us being the only parent-figure some kids have in a future post.)

Could I have asked for better? No way. This was peer pressure at its most positive. My older son’s core crowd of friends is far from perfect, but that incident gave me hope they were on their way to making more sound decisions as time went on. (Fingers crossed they continue to be! :D) The crowd has grown some, but the core group is essentially unchanged. Makes me feel good to know these are the kids my son is with outside the house.

One more thought: Back then–and now–I had to remind myself that interchange was a just-for-today moment. But: I prayed–and continue to pray–everyday that they would string together more of these episodes on their road to adulthood. This particular group is just entering their 20s. Most of them are in the trenches now, away from their parent(s)’ guidance–assuming they have a parent or parental figure to begin with. (Sometimes, you might be all a child has, but again, that’s fodder for a future post.) These young adults are in a position to apply what they’ve been taught via discipline by exercising sound  judgment in their decisions.  If you’ve developed that open, unconditional, non-judgmental relationship with your kids, chances are they’ll be open to any guidance you offer, and even seek it too! (That’s gravy!)

Your thoughts? Experiences? I’d love for you to take a moment and share yours here. We parents are on an immensely challenging journey of raising kids to face a world far bigger and menacing than the one with which our parents had to deal. We can make this a forum for exchanging ideas and helping each other along the way!

Next time we’ll talk about the “opportunity to learn” that tends to be inherent to most situations we encounter with our kids.

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www.pexels.com

Sharing the ride,

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, 2017, content and images (unless otherwise specified).

Posted in Discipline vs. Control, Parenting, Reflections, Uncategorized

Discipline Vs. Control–Part 2

Welcome back! Hope your Super Bowl pick won. If it was the Falcons, I truly feel for you and them. Most. Amazing. Comeback. Ever. And what a catch by #11 Julian Edelman–I mean, how was that catch even possible???

Belief.  Drive. Determination. Motivation. Grit. (A miracle or two doesn’t hurt either…)

That’s what won Super Bowl LI for the New England Patriots.

And those same qualities are what parent(s) need to apply to “the journey.”

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www.pexels.com

Anyway, this should have run last week, but I somehow messed up scheduling the post. Hope you’ve had some time to digest last post’s discussion and are ready to delve in a little further!

Disclaimer: Please remember, these are my thoughts on these concepts, based on my parenting experiences. I do not equate myself with the title “expert.” I do, however, hope to be of service to others sharing this journey, by relating my experiences and what I’ve gleaned from them to date. (Not sure we’ll ever be out of the trenches, and that’s okay too! 🙂 )

I ended last time with this thought: Respect for my children—and for children and teens in general—is something that helps guide me in the process of discipline.

Back to Dictionary.com: Respect has multiple definitions, but I chose those that apply to this essay.

As a noun, respect is (1) esteem for, or a sense of, the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability; (2) deference to a right, privilege, privileged position.

As a verb: (1) to hold in esteem or honor; (2) to show regard, or consideration for (i.e., someone’s rights); (3) to refrain from intruding upon or interfering with (i.e., a person’s privacy).

I won’t declare I’ve always practiced respect in all my parenting decisions. I can’t aver that I inherently understood what it means to show regard for my children’s needs. I am, however, blessed by having internalized early on that a little person (and/or an older child) does have feelings that need to be considered.

This notion hit me very clearly one day, when my older son was about eight months old. We were on some multi-errand run and probably on, at the very least, our sixth stop. This means the little guy had already been dragged in and out of his car seat eleven times. Now mind you, my mini-man had always been fine with being in the swing or bouncer or stroller for as long as I needed him to be or was willing to go.  As I strapped him in for time number twelve, he started crying.

Chances are, I was initially irritated with his reaction, but luckily, compassion clicked in and it hit me: This boy is tired. He’s had enough and shouldn’t be subjected to dealing with his mother’s inability to slow down.

I’ve read parenting books—God knows, they abound—and then beat myself up over not being a ‘good mom’ because I couldn’t make the ideals depicted in those books happen. Luckily for me, a close friend (and mom) often reminded me that if there were ONE way that worked, there’d be a lot less books on the topic. (My favorite: Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging, and Pleading and Get Kids to Cooperate, by Elizabeth Pantley. I also remember browsing a bit through George M. Kapalka’s Parenting Your Out-of-Control Child: An Effective, Easy-to-Use Program for Teaching Self-Control. Thought I might gain some wisdom for dealing with my younger, somewhat anxious, reactive and much-more-of-a-challenge son. BTW, if anyone is interested, he’s often available through Lent. I’ve been known to give that one up every now and again. 😉 )

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Back to my point:

I learned, by reading those parenting books, that discipline is a form of teaching, as well as a form of living.

My job is not to make my kids do what I say (controlling), but to guide them to make the best choice available at any given moment (discipline).

Hopefully, they’ll exercise good judgment up front. If not, one could hope they take advantage of the ‘opportunity to learn,’ assuming the consequences of their action(s) aren’t overly devastating or life threatening in any way. (Elizabeth Pantley deals with how to use natural consequences—or create logical ones—very nicely in her book.)

This segues me to the old adage, Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.

When I fight for my way, or for that instant response to what I tell my kids to do–for no other reason beyond I want my way (Gasp! Controlling again!)– I’m not teaching them to fish. By guiding them to make wise choices today, I can only hope to be laying a foundation to make even wiser choices as they get older, especially when they’re in a position to make (big) decisions without someone more experienced at their side.

We’ll pick up next time with the fruits of discipline.

Any thoughts on all this so far? What have you learned on your journey relative to authority and kids? No, you don’t have to be a parent to join the discussion. All kinds of interactions count (i.e., those of teachers, psychologists, baby sitters, etc), so don’t be shy!

With you on the journey,

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, 2017, content and images (unless otherwise specified).

 

 

Posted in Discipline vs. Control, Parenting, Uncategorized

Discipline Vs. Control–Part 1

Welcome! A much-belated happy new year to all! Not one post in on the parenting series, and I’m already behind schedule!

Let’s go straight to some definitions.

According to Dictionary.com, discipline has several definitions; among those training, punishment and instruction to a disciple (i.e., student).  

Control, on the other hand, is to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command. (This one can give me the heebie-jeebies when I see it in action, or how its negative effects can manifest themselves.

Aside: Two quick thoughts: EVERYONE wants to be in control and NO ONE wants to be controlled by someone else. Just bear with me on this, parents. I’m not giving free rein to any child–no matter the age–just yet! 😉

Real-life story illustration (from 2012; Older Son was 16 years old): On the Saturday before Christmas we’d just gotten home around 8:30 PM from a family get together. Within the hour, I’m hearing kids’ voices outside calling out to Older Son. I figured they were coming from another friend’s, who lives three doors down from me. They came in for a minute then headed back out.

One of the girls in the group often complained about her parents being strict, especially her father. After the kids left, Hubby asked if that particular dad knew his daughter was out walking around at that hour. I had no clue.

Didn’t think much about it until the next day, when Older Son’s girlfriend dropped in, along with her mom. She was among those  who’d stopped by the night before. I mentioned Hubby’s comment about the other girl walking around at night. Older Son’s girlfriend’s mom went off a bit on her daughter, after she realized her daughter and the other friends wandering around the night before had essentially been stranded at a neighborhood restaurant (which amounts to a 25-30-minute walk from my house). Sounds like a disagreement between the kids at the restaurant resulted in their ride being cancelled by the boy whose dad was supposed to provide it.

My immediate thought was: my kids would never have thought twice about calling me to pick them up. The girl with the strict dad might have been afraid to call. My son’s girlfriend stated, “We didn’t want to bother you,” and the other boy who was with them rarely asks for a ride from his parents. (His stepdad watched his toddler brother while his mother worked on Saturday nights. His father lived about a half-hour away.)

The situation made me feel really good about my relationship with my kids to that point. When they were really young, I found it very tough and often terribly frustrating to manage (a.k.a. control)  busy boy behaviors. Seems like back then it was all about them getting to do what I wanted or expected, and I often felt resentful during those times they did not. (Sometimes I still feel that way, lol.)

Too many times, I grappled with whether I was being permissive or letting them make choices out of respect for them as people, especially after I’d set a boundary then found myself discussing/negotiating it. (That’s a supposed no-no in the way of effective parenting, or so I’ve been told here and there 😉 ).  Maybe what appeared to be negotiating then was my way of thinking aloud and making sense of the process as I lived it. (I still do that and my poor kids have to listen to it, lol. Good thing that older one is patient!)

Respect for my children—and for children and teens in general—is something that helps guide me in this process. We’ll talk more about this in the subsequent post. In the meantime, please go ahead and add your thoughts and experiences on this subject. Not an easy one, but one that is manageable with a shift in mindset.

One more request: if you like what you read here, would you kindly take a second and click the  Facebook, Twitter and/or any of the share buttons below? (Feel free to post share links at any site not represented here you feel might benefit from the content as well.) Reblogging is nice too, and helps get word out to others in cyberspace. By working together, we can each get our content and our names out to that many more people. Your efforts are greatly appreciated!

This article certainly appeared shareworthy. Check it out!

Have a wonderful day!

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, 2017, content and images.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Parenting Series on the Way!

Welcome, parents, guardians and/or providers of childcare! (Educators, you’re included too!)

Many thanks for taking a chance with my thoughts on parenting your children. I am humbled and honored and hope you find ideas that will work for you in the following series.

I too, want—and strive daily—to be the best parent I can be. I’m past twenty years experience, and my learning curve continues to grow.

I have, however, gained some hindsight. As goes the (paraphrased) saying, looking back is supposedly through 20-20 lenses. By no means do I promise to be certain of that, but maybe some of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way will be of service to you. I certainly hope so.

I began writing the upcoming series in February, 2012; Older Son was fifteen at that time; Younger Dude, thirteen. These articles have been gathered into a booklet (not yet published) and developed into a workshop,  Lay the Groundwork: Thoughts and Tips for Building a Powerful, Peaceful and Lasting Connection with Your Kids. 

When my boys were younger, I often asked myself, Am I raising them right?” From the day they were born, my biggest struggle has always been finding a balance between disciplining them vs. being controlling.  At the time I wrote these articles, I was just beginning to get a glimmer of hope; that the fruits of all the years of (frequently) agonizing over which one I was (or am) in any given situation that calls for me—or hubby—to step in and exercise parental authority were beginning to pay off. (BTW the “boys” are  20 (today and 18; I still often wrestle with maintaining this balance.)

One more VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: It is really hard to see the payoff as you go. This is a process: a long one that often hints at success, but one that only time and perspective (a.k.a. hindsight) will allow you to see. Patience will be your biggest roadway to peace. (Special note to those of you inclined to pray: Someone gave me a wise piece of advice when my boys were very young. Don’t pray for patience; you will find yourself tested. Pray for peace instead.)

I plan post to one article weekly.*  Please feel free to comment, pose questions, contact me privately. Although each of our situations is unique, there are often common factors and/or denominators that many of us can relate to. Also note this: if you contact me I pledge to maintain confidentiality and anonymity.

Have a great day!

Joanne

*Unfortunately, I must allow myself the flexibility to roll with what life doles out, so kindly be patient if my posting schedule winds up being less regular than I like. In the event, consistency goes off, I promise to get back on track ASAP! And thank you in advance for your patience and understanding. 🙂

©Joanne C Timpano (content and images), 2016. All rights reserved.

Posted in making time, recipes, Uncategorized

Quick-n-Easy Meal–Healthy Too!

Hello everyone! So glad to be back! I am so sorry to have been missing for so long, but we’re just starting to get back into a normal routine: Younger Son had a B.A.D. leg injury during the last football game of his JV season (2015). That resulted in 11 (and counting) trips to Manhattan’s phenomenal Hospital for Special Surgery—so grateful it wasn’t worse and that we live within a very reasonable driving distance; if it weren’t for the danged traffic on the FDR…)

Anyway, after two separate. dual procedures (one in February and one in June), Younger Son is hopefully on the mend for the long haul. The 2015-16 school year is behind us–it all but did me in; the 2016-17 school year is in full swing. And here I am, hoping and praying to scare out time to spend some here with all of you on a regular basis again! Somehow there is never enough of this ridiculously precious commodity!!

That brings me back to importance of getting an appealing, healthy, tasty meal on the table in record time. Weekdays or weekends, we tend to be very busy people: the day job, kids’ and/or parents’sports or other activities; homework, keeping the house in some sort of living order…

This also ties in perfectly with my last post, about how important meal time is to families in general—or so says MHO.

What you’ll need:

-(Pre-cooked) Rotisserie chicken (Costco’s is awesome, ~$5 for a 3-lb. bird—feeds 3-5-people)

costco chicken

-Broccoli and/or cauliflower florets (I buy a container of pre-cut ones at my produce market—about $2.50—see photo below)

-Potatoes (baked)

-Cooking spray (or oil)

-seasonings of choice

-Gravy (optional–you can make your own with drippings from bird, use a jarred brand, make your with an “instant”–i.e., add water and cook on stove–gravy packet or go to Boston Market and buy some as a “side dish.” 🙂 )

-Aluminum foil

Potatoes:

-Scrub potatoes and poke holes with fork.

-Line microwave-safe plate with paper towel; place potatoes on plate and microwave on high (about 5 minutes/potato*).

-wrap potatoes in foil; finish cooking them in conventional (or counter top) oven, along with veggies.

-butter, sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt—amazing stand-in for sour cream); salt, pepper, chives, etc).

Veggies:

-Preheat oven to 425˚F/~220˚C

-Rinse broccoli and/or cauliflower florets; drain.

-Spray a glass or metal roasting pan with (olive oil) spray. (Lining it with foil makes clean-up that much easier.)

-Arrange veggies in pan; spray to coat veggies with oil–or you can toss them with a little olive oil prior to placing in pan. Season the way you like. (I love garlic  salt and freshly ground black pepper.)

-Roast veggies to desired tenderness (about 20 minutes at my house)**.

IMG_2150

Chicken: 

Cut up.

I’m a fan of putting everything on the table, family style, and letting everyone serve him or herself. You can easily add to the meal by throwing together a simple salad, adding bread—you get the idea. Help the little ones unwrap the potatoes–no steam burns, please! Cut in half; season with butter, salt–however you like!

*If you don’t like microwaving, you can clean, poke, wrap and put potatoes directly in oven; you’ll need about an hour to bake them.

**No fans of broccoli and/or cauliflower at your house? No problem! Any of the following can be seasoned and roasted the same way: asparagus, peppers/onions, baby carrots, brussel sprouts, green or yellow squash.

That’s it! Dinner is done, delicious and pretty darned healthy too. Leaves a parent time to do something fun with the kids or have some quality time to him or herself! Enjoy!

What are some of your get-dinner-on-the-table-in-a-hurry tips and/or tricks? Please share them in the comments! I’m always looking for new ideas, especially those that involve home-style cooked foods.

Be well!

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano (content and images), 2016. All rights reserved.