Monthly Archives: July 2011

Dad’s Failure Inspires Junior Chef

My daughter has been obsessed with cooking lately.  While she has always enjoyed helping me cook, her interest has grown to a whole new level.  I am thinking that my husband’s recent failed attempt at making biscuits (see post from July 9, 2011, Guest Post From Perfectionist Biscuit Maker) has something to do with this desire to cook more.  She commented that she could cook better than Dad, and wanted to prove it.  A week after the failed biscuits were served, she asked if she could use the same recipe that Dad tried, and make some “good” biscuits.  She experienced great success!

Superior Biscuits!

Now most mornings she comes downstairs and announces that she is making breakfast.  Then she scours the fridge and cabinets for inspiration.  On occasion she has asked for a little help, but generally she just calls us to the table when breakfast is ready.  Pretty impressive for a 9-year-old!

Added to her breakfast regimen is now a desire to prepare dinner.  Not just help with dinner, but prepare ALL of dinner, several times a week.  Just last night she prepared a delicious Roma tomato, fresh basil, and parmesan egg noodle pasta, complete with olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper. She beamed as she served her meal.  We all beamed as we ate it!

I love that she has the interest, independence, and confidence to stretch her culinary skills.  It is interesting to me that she was seemingly inspired by her Dad’s “epic failure” with the biscuits.  Or could it be that she has an inherited competitive streak?  Most likely it is a combination of the two.  Whatever the reason(s), she is excited to cook, loves the challenge, and is having fun.  Isn’t that what learning is all about?


At the end of each blog post, I have decided to share a list of what books my children and I are currently reading, as well as a link to the author’s website so you can learn more about him/her.  I am hoping that this feature will provide book ideas for your children, as well as grown-up books for you to check out.  I would love to hear what your family is reading as well! I always love new book suggestions, and don’t think you can spread good news about good books too often!

What We’re Reading…

Me:  The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  Great book!  Check out her website at

My son (12):  The Big Field by Mike Lupica.  This is at least the third time he has read this book.  Check out Lupica’s website at .

My daughter (9):  Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary.  Check out Cleary’s website at .

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Filed under Cooking, Great Books for Children, Parenting

New Cell Phone Bumps up Maturity Level… Who Knew?

My twelve year old son has been begging for a cell phone for well over a year now.  He tried every possible angle to convince us that he should have one.  He even told us that everyone in his middle school (52 kids– he goes to a small school) had one except for him.  He later corrected himself and said that he wasn’t the only one, he just felt like the only one.

Many friends encouraged me to hold out as long as possible.  I just couldn’t imagine who he needed to stay in contact with so much, especially since he saw so many of his friends at school each day.  He got an email address a year or so ago, and that seemed to satisfy his need to stay in touch with friends outside of the school day.  However, it seems that as things go with youth these days, email is apparently a dinosaur, and texting is now the way to stay in touch.

My sister-in-law actually changed my perspective on the situation a few months back.  She told me that it was actually a good sign that he wanted a phone to stay in touch with his friends.  She said that it was normal for his age, and that I should worry if he didn’t want to pull away from us and connect more with his friends.  The more I thought about her comment, the more it made sense.

Finally, we decided he was ready to have one.  He understood that it came with a few stipulations, most important, a $10 a month bill (he also paid for half of the phone itself).  He has to be reasonable with how many texts he sends each day, and the phone can’t be a permanent appendage (after a reasonable time for him to enjoy the “newness”), but he also needs to figure out how to manage his first monthly bill.  He is confident that he can manage this responsibility.  He is volunteering to help with plants and mail for vacationing neighbors, and is doing additional jobs around the house.  He appears receptive to requests to do laundry and dishes, whereas weeks ago there would be a lot of grumbling before accepting the duty.  All in all, his level of maturity seems to have bumped up a level.  I have also noticed him being more respectful and attentive to his family.

Is this change due to the fear of losing his new phone if expectations aren’t met, or is it due to the his sense that we felt he was responsible and ready for this move up the social ladder?  I know that most of the time children rise to expectations, and they respond to being treated more maturely.  It is undoubtedly a change for us all, but one that, so far, has the makings of all things positive!

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Filed under Parenting, Something to think about

Guest Post From Perfectionist Biscuit Maker

I have a story that is just too good not to share.  My husband is known as quite a perfectionist, and rarely does anything wrong, at least from his perspective.  After you read the story, you will understand why this is such a treasure.  It also didn’t help my husband’s position that he bragged about how his biscuits were going to be so good, light and fluffy.  I loved the fact that our children noticed each of the mistakes as they were made, and kept whispering to me what they saw.  They have been learning how to cook since they were very young, and wanted so badly to tell him what was going wrong.  But alas, we watched, chuckled, and waited for the proof on the plate.  And what a plate it was…  Got to love his effort and enthusiasm!

And now… my husband’s guest post:

Last weekend my mom visited and told my wife and kids about the delicious biscuits I used to make when I was in the 7th grade. Amused by this revelation, they asked my mom to send us the recipe (40 years old, in my own cursive handwriting) so I could re-create my legendary biscuits.

With great excitement (and cameras documenting the historic moment), I took charge of the kitchen. Amid unexplained snickers from my wife and kids, I confidently gathered the ingredients and began preparing my delicacies. In hindsight, I should have read the recipe a little more carefully. That was my first mistake . . . and it only got worse from there. Apparently I added unnecessary ingredients to self-rising flour, I didn’t really know what kneading was, and I got a little aggressive with the salt.

Unaware of the impending disaster, I proudly removed the biscuits from the oven, only to observe that they seemed a little flat and disc-like. As my 9yo daughter cautiously took her first bite, she lovingly stated, “The inside tastes like flour, the outside tastes like ocean, and overall it’s as hard as a rock.” My 12yo son succinctly summarized the tragic project in two words: “Epic fail.”

Dad's Inferior Biscuits

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Filed under Just Fun, Parenting