Tag Archives: pizza

Scenes from Saturday + Birthdays & Bellinis

A reminder to myself from the inimitable Dear Abbey as the holidays creep closer. As the boxes pile up on the front step and the girls make last minute changes to gift lists and we worry we’re not giving them enough and somehow giving them way too much.

“If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money.”

Money can make things easier, no doubt, gifts might make them temporarily smile, no doubt, but there is no substitute for that garbage time.

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Scenes from Saturday + Fall & Fur Balls

As it grew darker last Tuesday, and the girls got their costumes ready, Ally asked if I believed in ghosts.

No, I do not believe in ghosts or spirits. But I do believe in memories.

I believe in the collective memory of all the people doing what human beings have always done before me. Being a parent, being a Dad, being a son, being a man. Getting it right sometimes. Screwing it up sometimes.

Whether spirits exist or not, we are never alone. Memories, for me, are a benign presence, not a haunting one. They exist to teach, advise, caution, and inspire with all that prior experience.

They protect us. They reassure us. They give us company.

Act accordingly.

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Scenes from Saturday + Food & Freedom

Parents of teenagers, what is it about the age (hormones, a glimpse of the ‘real’ world) that so often poisons the resiliency and willingness to just try of their younger selves?

For most, this is just a temporary fog, but here is a life lesson, or life approach, that I’d like to inject directly into my kids brains as an antidote to overly negative thinking: How can I make this work?

It’s not a life hack (hate those) but a mindset. Don’t be the type of person that approaches a situation and think, “What are all the ways this might go wrong?

This is not to say I want the girls to be naive or overly optimistic. Just the opposite. I want them to be realistic and believe that they’ll find a way through no matter what and not to depend on things outside their control.

Both types of mindsets need to deal with reality, but the first person will only have to solve problems that actually occur while the second person may never get started because they’ve scuttled themselves with potential (or even imaginary) problems before they even start.

There will always be reasons to not do something. It’s how you start anyway that makes a difference.

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Scenes from Saturday + Decisions & Dark Chocolate

A better week but still not easy. One bright spot? This NPR interview with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day author Judith Viorst. Like all the great children’s books there are layers of meaning that can aid both adult and child. One of the reasons I love this book is that there is no judgment of Alexander’s behavior.

As a Dad, I often to want to correct things or make things better for the girls. That’s not always possible as Alexander reminds us. And that’s OK. Sometimes it’s good and necessary to just sit with our emotions. The current always-on, look-over-here, life hack culture makes this difficult (by design). But it’s important to remember that you don’t always need to immediately fix something and that having a bad day is a (necessary) part of life.

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Why You Don’t Need to Autolyse Pizza Dough

pizza dough balls

I was surprised to learn that you don’t need to to autolyse your pizza dough. In fact, it may be detrimental. All the artisan bread recipes say you need a rest period, typically called autolyse (AUTO-leese) after the initial mix. That it is critical to let the dough rest and for the gluten chains to form. If it is so critical to good, well developed artisanal bread, then why is the step often lacking in pizza dough recipes?

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Scenes from Saturday + Marathons & Minutiae

Why do I do this every Sunday morning?

As a writer, I’ve tried to keep a diary many times. It felt like a professional obligation. I tried to write down the Important Things that happened every day. It never stuck. All the attempts failed.

Except this one. These Saturday entries full of glitter, Dad jokes, and transfer station minutiae are my time machine. These tiny, mostly insignificant details, with bad photos bring me back to where we all were.

I’ve learned it’s not the Big Important Rituals that might matter most to a family, it’s the really small, silly ones you’ll probably remember. Why not have a record of some of those moments?

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Scenes from Saturday + Skillets & Curiosity

I watch a lot of Jeopardy. It is my relaxing cup of tea at the end of the day. Never cottoned to the Wheel but something immediately clicked with its sister show. Maybe it was the resemblance to flash cards.

A lot of other people have been watching lately with the big runs by Matt Amodio and Amy Schneider. Including my kids. At first, I think it was just the allure of the television being on during a weeknight, but now they genuinely want to watch.

Most people think to be good on Jeopardy that you need to be smart. Or, really good on the buzzer. Or, have fast recall. Those all certainly help but I think the biggest key to Jeopardy success is to be curious.

We don’t have control over what kind of brain our kids were born with. But what we can influence whether they’re curious. We can encourage the ask questions and seek answers. We can cultivate this instinct until it becomes part of their personality.

And, of course, like a lot of parenting, we can demonstrate it by doing it. It’s a two way street. Explore what they are curious about but also have them engage with you and what you’re curious about. A curious Dad is both a good parent and a smart parent.

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