This is a post i wrote as a guest blogger when the OC Register had their Mom Blog up and running a couple years ago. The Mom Blog has moved on, so I thought I would share this with you here. The feelings are still the same!
I’ve been a mom now for just over two years, and I was starting to feel a bit more confident in my abilities. Until last week that is, when my daughter slammed a door on her foot resulting in an injury that looked a lot more serious than it really was. But, I didn’t know it at that moment.
At that moment, all I wanted to do was hold her and cry with her and make her feel better and not let her know how scared for her I was. Then I got a grip on myself and told her everything was going to be just fine. I stayed strong through the ER visit and the follow up at the doctor’s office the next day, even though on the inside I was crying. I worried she would be traumatized by the whole experience.
Moms in the 21st century really have a lot of worries to consider. Not that I lay awake at night thinking about these things (yet), but I am concerned that one day due to my own ignorance, I will allow my daughter to go to school wearing gang insignia; the school will be shot up while she’s in class; or heaven forbid, she will carry some ibuprofen in her handbag. Will someone snatch her as she skips down the street to visit a friend? Will I be able to handle it if something really bad happens to her?
My parents worried, of course, but there’s a significant generation gap between the things I worry about and the things that kept my mother awake at night. I asked my Mom about her worries while we were growing up in Orange County during the 70s and 80s. She told me she worried about smoking, drinking, our friends leading us astray, teachers influencing us in a way that was not consistent with my parents’ values, a little about drugs, and a lot about education.
Yet, we were still allowed to walk to school, bike to our friends’ houses, and be unsupervised all summer long. My grandparents had even less to worry about comparatively. My Gram worried about my mother crossing the major street that was the boundary of where she was allowed to go (and doled out a serious reprimand when it was discovered that she had), finances, education, religious upbringing, good food on the table, and taking care of their elders. A lot has changed in 70 short years.
But bridging the generation gaps are the little things that just don’t change. They are consistent from mother to mother, generation to generation. We count our babies’ fingers and toes the day they are born and see the future in their eyes. We beseech whatever higher power we believe in for their health and happiness. We hide our fears and tears as best we can in the effort to provide a stable home. We help them with their homework, and in making the tough decisions about which birthday party to attend and how to gently give their regrets to the friend whose party they won’t be attending. We take care of scraped elbows and knees and hearts, and with tears in our eyes we might send them off to college or the military to become the men and women we hoped for on the day we counted their fingers and toes for the first time. Parents, especially moms, will always worry, and my Mom assures me the worry doesn’t end when your children are 21 or 30 or 50, married or single, living right next door or across the globe.
Maybe in the future, I will jump up a little faster when my daughter is playing with a door, or I’ll find a better way to divert her tears as she cries after falling from her bike. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there, but I will feel confident in knowing I’m not the first mom to face that dilemma, and that moms throughout history have felt the same.
Well, I could have told you that the resolution I made for February was one of the stupidest resolutions I've ever made! You would think that breaking the fast food addiction would be mind over matter, but in reality, it was very difficult. It started with a pizza. Then I was caught out and so hungry, with the only option being fast food. I thought, well, I don't have to get the worst thing on the menu or do this again. "It will be our dirty little secret, now won't it..." Next thing you know, I had abandoned the resolution. I made it about two weeks.
The good news is that I have given up fast food again, because I want to. John and I both are on a very strict diet right now because we want to be healthy, so we have gone back to Jenny Craig. While I'm not a big fan of the food, it is better for us in the short term than the way we were eating, and we will definitely lose some weight! Before Melody was born, we both lost significant amounts of weight on JC so I know we can be successful again. The trick will be in keeping it off.
For the March resolution, I selected walking 20-30 minutes, 3-5 times a week. This will work pretty well because the weather is getting nicer all the time and I can walk during lunch breaks. I also count my walking while I grocery shop, because dammit I'm moving! Of course, I'm a week late in starting the resolution but this is one I will need to keep going for weight loss and general health.
Most kids like chicken nuggets, dinosaur shapes, stars, or the weird lopsided rectangles. Those little breaded bits of chicken are famous the world over for satisfying picky eaters and omnivores alike. What I don't like about chicken nuggets is the whole made sometime last year and stored in the freezer aspect of them. Yes, we currently have a bag of them, but I can't bring myself to prepare them for my girl any longer. Plus, I keep thinking of the preservatives and I wonder if the chicken in those things is really chicken or if it's pressed "parts" of chicken. You remember the old saying "parts is parts" right? Shudders...
Tonight Melody and I made our own chicken nuggets. It is so easy, why didn't I think of this before?! This recipe is from my mother but I don't remember her making this for us as kids. It's just a good one! At first, Melody wasn't real interested in helping, but eventually she saw the fun in dipping her fingers in the flour, egg and breadcrumbs. The goo factor is great for kids, ha ha. When she ate dinner, she was inordinately proud of having made her own chicken nuggets! You could make a double recipe one weekend and have plenty to store in the freezer for the next several weeks.
1 - 1.25 lbs chicken, cut into 2" squares or rectangles
Italian salad dressing or other marinade*
Panko or regular breadcrumbs
Pour about 1 cup or so of marinade into a large zipper bag. Add the chicken pieces, close the zipper and allow to rest 15 minutes. Take out three plates or shallow bowls. In one, put 3 or 4 tablespoons flour, in the next, beat the eggs together, in the third, put about 1 cup breadcrumbs. Make an assembly line. Once the chicken has fully marinaded, dip pieces in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Place them on a cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick spray. Do this until all the nuggets are nicely breaded. Bake at 450 for 8-10 minutes. Once cooled, the nuggets can be frozen and reheated in the microwave for about 60-90 seconds.
*Here's a Japanese style marinade
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white wine
3 T sugar
You can also add 1/2 teaspoon ginger if you like
On Facebook, I saw a fabulous post a few weeks back - the woman would make an item for the first five people who commented and reposted the meme. I loved the idea but she already had 5 people comment, so I just stole the post and voila, I had 5 people sign up. I wasn't sure at first what I would make. Food, sure, maybe cookies, very typical. Jewelry, possibly, I love doing that. I sent out a message to my 5 people asking favorite colors, foods, home decor, etc. It's always easier to have an idea of the person's environment if you are going to make them something.
Then it got cold. I decided I would make a blanket! I love making blankets because they are fairly simple and wonderful all at once. I visited my favorite discount fabric store and found deliciously soft and warm Minky fabric. It's that stuff they make baby blankets out of that babies like to pet. I could just run my hands over it for hours. The first blanket I decided to make is for an old high school friend who told me she likes red & black. I found a gorgeous red and black floral that I love and backed it with solid black broadcloth.
But I wanted to make sure the front and back of the blanket didn't gap from one another, so I pulled mismatched vintage black, red and clear glass buttons from my collection and used these randomly sprinkled to secure the blanket. A little quilt binding and we have a great lap blanket! The fabric is 54" wide so it's large enough for two to cuddle on the couch, or small enough to wrap over yourself in the recliner. Plus it is machine washable, so if pets like it you can get their hair off pretty easily - which is a requirement in my house.
I have mailed this off to my friend Jodi and even though lately it's been ridiculously warm for this time of year, my original intention had been to "spread warmth" among my friends. I hope this keeps you and your family warm for many years to come!
At the conclusion of Melody's birthday party recently, guests were shocked when I asked them if their child would like to write on the tablecloth. What? Parents are continually trying to keep table linens nice, don't encourage kids to write on them! But, this is a tradition that started when I was a little girl. Each guest is asked to write a birthday note, creating a memory for the birthday girl that will last a lifetime.
My mother started this tradition for our family. I asked her recently where she got the idea, and back in the 60s there was no Pinterest, so it was either a magazine or word of mouth. My dad thought it was Sunset magazine. She made a pink tablecloth for my sister and a blue one for me. We kids sat at the dinner table for cake & ice cream and pencils would be passed around. During the year following, my mom would embroider over the various little notes, memorializing them for all time. Each year she used a different color, creating a bright and colorful mosaic of birthday wishes. Some names are repeated year after year, others show up only once or twice. After I learned to embroider (badly, I must add) I took over the task of doing the embroidery and I have birthday wishes from my first through sixteenth birthdays.
Of course the cynic in me pictures unfinished tablecloths in the linen closets of America, abandoned when mothers ran out of time or gumption and lacked daughters willing to take over the embroidery task. I can say that I am glad my mother taught me to embroider so that I could complete my tablecloth. I just wish I had taken to it better, but my fingers just couldn't manage the precise stitches necessary for really good embroidery.
Being seriously all thumbs in the needlework department these days, I knew I wanted to make a birthday tablecloth for Melody, but wanted it to be something practical. We are SO lucky fabric markers were invented! The ink writes directly on the fabric with very little hassle and once washed & dried, it is there forever. I just need to remember to make a note on the end of the tablecloth as to what color was used which year.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN BIRTHDAY TABLECLOTH
The tablecloth is made from 2 yards of 60" wide cotton I bought online. Looking back, I might have gotten a poly-cotton for better wrinkle resistance but I can't go back and change it now. The center of the tablecloth features "Happy Birthday Melody" in iron on letters which I stitched into place so that when the adhesive eventually gives out the letters won't fall off. I put in a 1/4" hem, then turned it and hemmed it again. Since I added the ruffle after 5 years, I stitched the ruffle directly to the back of that hem, but if putting it on during the hemming would be easiest and less bulky.
2 yards 60" wide cotton or poly-cotton, tablecloth weight, solid color
Applique letters to spell "Happy Birthday" and your child's name
7 1/2 yards gathered eyelet ruffle (optional)
Wash and dry fabric & ruffle. Lay out the cloth right side up and place the letters in the center in any formation you desire. Iron in place, then stitch over them. Turn up 1/4" hem and stitch. Lap ruffle over the hem and stitch in place. Finish raw edges of ruffle so they won't fray. Fray-check is your friend. If you are not adding a ruffle, turn up a second 1/4" hem and stitch in place.
Supply one single color of fabric marker each year. On the end of the tablecloth, write the year in that same color.
Click the pictures for larger images.