Scenes from Saturday + Sleepovers & Samples Sales

Nothing quite highlights just how much there is to do as a parent as being home all day with your kids during winter vacation week. Even if they are getting older and more mature….so much to do….and they are still so bad at just about all of it. I believe a big part of my job as a parent is to help my kids but not make them helpless. I want to teach them how to do things, not necessarily do them for them.

So, this week I spent a lot of time thinking about where that line is (I also spent a lot of time thinking about the medicinal qualities of wine.) Where do I draw the line? How do I know when to help (anything involving boiling water or the risk of glitter on the floor), what to still do for them (anything involving knives), and what to tell them doesn’t really matter (fractions).

I believe a great parent will do anything for their family. But they also know they can’t do everything. It’s not good for them (or for the Dad’s liver). Continue Reading

Race Recap: Old Fashioned 10 Miler 2020

This year’s Old Fashioned 10 Miler was going to be about redemption. At least, that was the plan. Last year’s race went off the rails almost immediately. Despite not really training more for the distance (I’ve been on the bike a lot more this winter), I was determined that this year would be better than last. I did everything I could to make sure this year left me with better memories. I managed my taper, my fatigue, and my meds carefully in the lead up to Sunday. But you still never know. You gotta toe the line and find out. Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + Chores & Candlepins

After spoiling the kids in NYC last weekend, I had survivor’s guilt and started worrying that they have no idea how to be grateful. Not to me or Michelle. We are legally required to keep them alive so whether they are grateful or not toward us doesn’t hold much water. But just grateful in general, for pretty much everything. It might not always feel like it minute-to-minute or day-to-day but it is a great time to be alive. And scientifically speaking (we did go to the Natural History Museum last week) it is incredible we are here at all. The odds are so small. So why not rejoice? Well, it can be tough when the day is long and there are fractions to divide, piano to practice, and dishwashers to empty.

But how do you actual teach kids to be grateful? Force feeding it seems like it would backfire. If I made the kids start a gratitude journal I’m sure one of the first things they would write in it (after being thankful for the gloriousness of sparkle slime) is they would be grateful if I stopped making them write in it. Do you just model the behavior and hope it soaks in (my typical approach)? Do you make it a once a week dinner conversation? Do you seek out opportunities?

Anyone have any good routines for instilling gratitude in the tiny consumable monsters we call (per legal mandate) our children? Continue Reading

5 Psychological Thrillers Worth Trying in Kindle Unlimited

Are you taking full advantage of your Prime Membership? Do you use Prime Reading? Or do you really love to read on your Kindle? Have your tried Kindle Unlimited?

Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited are very similar in terms of how you use and enjoy books. But there are a couple key differences. Prime Reading is a benefit of a Prime membership ($119 a year) and gives you access to one free book from the Kindle Unlimited library each month. The available books rotate in and out. Kindle Unlimited is a separate service for $10 a month (currently with a two-month free trial) where you can borrow as many as you like (ebooks, audios, magazines) with no due dates and can hold up to 10 at a time.

Both are great deals for bibliophiles but if you are balking at subscribing to yet one more service and already have Prime (like over 65% of Americans!) than 12 free books a year is still a good deal and can further help you recoup the cost of that 2-day shipping membership.

Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + A Cookie & A Show

It was audition week this past Tuesday for the spring theater production and Cecilia was a little nervous. I did my best to remain supportive and positive. This is not my strongest quality. I like to fix things. I like to practice and perfect things. Cecilia….has confidence in herself. I can only wish I had her confidence, even now, and I hope she never loses it.

Despite my perceived nitpicking, I am very proud of both kids and could probably do a better job of actually telling them that amidst my various notes on their tone, pitch, the dramatic arc of their show, their cake decorating technique or dough handling. Though they really should listen to me about the dough, I’m a fan of all of it. I’m rooting for them despite making them re-do that fraction problem. I believe in them even if I force them to empty the dishwasher. I’m proud of them every day.

Of course, Cecilia says she doesn’t need it but it can’t hurt. Continue Reading

Easy Pretzel Focaccia

easy pretzel focaccia

Not gonna lie. This pretzel focaccia is the best kind of recipe: an impressive result but much easier to make than it appears to be.

It’s perfect for every day snacking, converting to sandwich bread, or feeding a big crowd. And you likely have all the ingredients you need sitting in the pantry right now.

It’s soft, salty, crispy, buttery with a nice chew and a good pretzel taste. Don’t be intimated. Give it a try. Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + Slime & Pretzels

Part of Cecilia’s weekly chores contract is the list of jobs, of course, but it also includes a rider: all done without complaints. Complaints covers eye rolls, heavy sighs, feet stomps and other tomfoolery. This is often the hardest part for her and we’ve recently been talking a lot about perspective.

Often life can be a lot like a chore chart. We can look at it one way and be annoyed or angry or worried. We can look at it another and find an exciting challenge. We can choose to see something as an obstacle or an opportunity.

Which is the right choice? That’s sort of a trick question, isn’t it? Life certainly has some difficult obstacles. For me, the right perspective is often the one that that allows me to move forward, to reduce stress, and to find humility, or even humor (ok, sometimes sarcasm). Each situation has two handles—one that will bear weight and one that won’t. I’m trying to teach the girls to to choose carefully. With a minimum of eye rolls. Continue Reading