After Thanksgiving, we kicked off the holiday season by checking out the Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s Festival of Trees. This annual fundraiser/raffle showcases dozens of decorated trees along with an impressive model railroad display.
Find some good and praise it. That’s my new mantra as we pass Thanksgiving and head into December. I’m trying not to fall into the conflict and criticism trap.
As a Dad, I’m always going to have more success rewarding good behavior than punishing bad behavior. I don’t always succeed. Sometimes there’s just too much glitter on the floor and it goes to my head. I see red. But I’m trying hard not to make that my primary reaction. Parenting is a daily choice: try to inspire or cave in to disillusion. Empower or depress.
I hope my relationship with Michelle is empowering and inspiring. It’s one choice that’s been paying off for over 20 years now and based on the kid’s behavior the other night, I think maybe some of that partnership is shining through…
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
A quote from JFK’s 1963 Thanksgiving Proclamation
However and whoever you celebrated with, I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving holiday.
We’ve been lucky, in one sense, during this pandemic that both Michelle and I like to cook, but we hit a wall this week. Through convenience or curiosity, we gave up and just threw everything in the borrowed air fryer. It became a challenge by the end of the week.
Here’s the list of things we loaded up and answered the question: “Will it air fry?”
Chickpeas (perfect and crunchy), pickles (eh), grilled cheese (yup), apple fritters (so good), salmon and broccoli together (yes, excellent sheet pan-style dinner), arancinis (italian riceball croquettes – pretty good), chicken nuggets (duh), tofu (not bad), fries (of course), sweet potatoes (double cooked worked best), s’mores (surprisingly good), tots (made for this), burritos, Brussel sprouts, chicken tenders, and cod.
A little late in the fall calendar to make these apple fritters but the recipe is so simple and easy that it doesn’t have to be for a special occasion. Nevermind holidays or Sunday brunch, this is such a quick and straightforward recipe that it’s easy to whip up for a weekday breakfast surprise. The end result is an old fashioned apple sweet treat that is a cross between a donut and a slice of warm pie. It feels indulgent, and the glaze gives it a sweet finish, but the air fryer saves a lot of the fat. And it’s all done in less than twenty minutes. Faster than you can run out and buy a box of pastries.
Modern parenting often gets knocked for being too soft. We hover too much. We reach for the band-aids too quickly. We don’t let kids roam past the electronic surveillance we installed outside. Some of that may be true and kids don’t benefit from much of that. But my challenge has been to recognize that each child is different.
Cecilia is more like me and responds to challenges and toughness. She’d do fine at Catholic school. Ally? Wouldn’t last a week. She needs more of a feather duster approach. And that’s okay.
Tough doesn’t have to mean inflicting pain or declaring martial law over vowel sounds or ten-blocks. I don’t want them to be scared to ask me for help. Or worried that I’ll be disappointed in them. Tough really means resilient and tough means teaching them, in whatever way is necessary, to push past their limits.
I am a big sucker for any baked good or bread that can pull double duty as both a breakfast or dessert item. This easy no knead cinnamon swirl raisin bread definitely qualifies. Baked as a sandwich loaf, it slices up easily for morning toast or offers just enough sweetness to work as a treat with afternoon coffee or tea. This bread is in regular rotation at our house as both the kids and the wife love slathering it with butter or peanut butter in the morning.