Friday, June 30, 2006

What's for Dinner?

Sitting at the pool, I was chatting with a friend the other day about what we were both going to feed our family. It was rapidly approaching the dinner hour, neither of us knew what we were having, so her daughter finally put me on the spot and asked her mom if she could cook what ever it was that we were having. "Pasta", I finally blurted out. Shoot, we don't have a red sauce, or the makings or time for a scratch red sauce, so it will be a quick homemade white sauce with Parmesan cheese. Done, I had planned our dinner. I knew we had enough frozen vegetables to add to the pasta to make it a meal.

One cold January day a few years ago when a friend and I were sitting around my kitchen, we decided it was time to make menu planning part of our new year's resolution. We took a calendar and mapped out what we would be cooking for an entire month. It made life so simple for that month. I knew what to buy at the grocery store- I hate to admit how many times I come home from the store and still don't have anything to cook for dinner. So here is my July dinner plan. Take it for what it is, just a guide to help plan my most dreaded question, "what's for dinner".

July 1st- Saturday- our block party so we will be grilling leftover extra firm tofu for sandwiches and meat burgers (my husband is rather carnivorousness)
July 2nd- Sunday- Frozen potato perogies with veggies on the side, and a salad. Leftover meat enchiladas for Michael.
July 3rd- Monday- A friend's 4th birthday party- veggie burgers- sorry Michael, you are on your own for meat.
July 4th-Pita bread pizza
July 5th- Wednesday -tacos- this may sound gross, but there is a box of "just add water" meat substitute found in the healthfood section of grocery stores. I use this for the girls and I, real meat for Michael.
July 6th-Thursday-Pad thai
July 7th- Friday-vegetable enchiladas, meat enchiladas (frozen leftovers)
July 8th- pasta with red sauce, garlic bread, fresh veggies and salad
July 9th- Indian curry- make double the rice to use for tomorrow night
July 10th-Vegetable fried rice (add frozen precooked chicken for Michael- I usually cook a few pounds at a time, chop it up and freeze it) I also add a few extra eggs for the girls
July 11th- black bean burritos- we need Lisa's recipe for her beans- we all loved them
July 12th- quesadillas with left over ingredients from last night
July 13- Pizza on pita bread
July 14- Tuna steaks on the grill served on a salad, white sauce pasta and vegetables
July 15th- Karen's black eyed pea and rice dish
July 16-salmon on the grill with homemade bread, veggies
July 17-veggie ribs, real animal ribs for Michael, cooked all day in a crockpot with BBQ sauce, veggies and baked potatoes
July 18-Leftovers
July 19- Stuntbec visits with her family. I will have to get back with you as we plan the menu together.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Check out this website.

A guy in our city looking for privacy with some "zoning" issues. You have to love his passion. If anything, privacy is what he is lacking at his Anderson home.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Private Instruction

Here's a guest editorial from reader and friend, Karen Marsh. Thanks Karen!

Have you ever discovered a new hobby or talent, perhaps spurred by a class you took? After you go to class for awhile, what seems to be the next step in developing your new area of interest in an optimal way? For me, I tend to turn toward the idea of a private instructor. I don't know that I've actually had a private instructor since the days when my parents paid one to take me through my scales on the piano, but that's not to say I haven't wanted one. And I definitely believe in the potential benefits of private instruction, above and beyond what a classroom can provide, when one really wants to master a skill. In fact, one of my interests is yoga, and one of the aspects of yoga in America that I have heard lamented by yoga instructors is the classroom approach. Apparently, if we were to "do it right," as was done in the days of old in India, the practice would be a much more private and personal journey, built out of a relationship between a student and a guru. Since a private yoga instructor around here can easily command a $75/hour fee, as compared to the $9 cost of a yoga class, there must be something that truly distinguishes the experience.

Well, what if your new hobby is "life"? You are a three-year-old child in need of mastering skills that will last you a lifetime -- sharing, being nice, eating good food, finding positive roads to happiness, etc. Which would you prefer... the private instructor or the classroom experience? This is something I've been thinking about lately. I know that I could learn more effectively from the private instructor (aka a parent). I think that those of us who are staying home with kids can look at the value added to our children's lives in those terms. If you dedicate yourself to the job of raising a child the way that a yoga instructor dedicates herself to a private session with a client, then the value of which you're giving your child can be, give or take, 8x that of what the child gets from a daycare classroom. This is not to say that every waking hour with your child has the qualities of an intense private session, but it does mean that your focus is there. Unlike a paid private instructor, your performance is not contained by a designated time period. More like a contractor on a retainer, you are standing ready to perform when a job presents itself (i.e. Bobby takes a truck from Jimmy and hits Jimmy over the head with it... time for a life lesson).

By contrast, a pre-schooler learning many life lessons in a classroom is learning not only from the teacher that is trying to guide 8-10 children through a day, but also from all of the other children in that room. Recently, I read this referred to as "horizontal socialization," whereas time with a parent is "vertical socialization." The article argued that vertical socialization gave a child a much more solid footing for life. I would have to agree that in the early years, this is the case. Would you rather have Jimmy learn his life lessons from Bobby or from a loving parent? We know the benefits and drawbacks of peers, and a child has from K-12 to experience that quite fully if you opt to send your child to school, as most of us will. The first four years of life are so fleeting. And what have you got to lose if you spend them with your child, except a little cash? Even if you're not the greatest private instructor, you're definitely the one your child would choose.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Who Killed the Electric Car

A guest article by StuntDad

I’ve always been fascinated by the "activist documentary." Classic films like Roger and Me and the more recent Super Size Me did an amazing job shedding light on corporations that have made decisions that they weren’t so proud of.

Sony Pictures Classics has a new documentary about a pure electric concept car that had great potential, but was eventually pulled and seemingly covered up.

Click the play button below to watch the trailer…

Friday, June 16, 2006

Thank You for a Great Year!

Thank you to the reader that pointed out that it's been one year since Stuntmom started!

When I started Stuntmom, I wasn't sure where it would be going, and I still don't know most of the time, but if anything it has been fun. It has been nice sharing all of the stories with our readers, and especially getting comments back too. (I really do appreciate being put in my place when needed) It has helped me to work out my feelings of leaving the corporate world to a world which I absolutely love- being with my kids full time.

I am so grateful to my sister Stuntbec, that joined at the beginning of the year, and I would like to thank those that have submitted stories too. Please, all are welcome to contribute stories, send them to

Thanks again!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Be Wary of Snap Judgments!

Back when my daughter was just an infant, I learned about "biters." You know, these are the young kids who, well, bite as a form of communication. As a new mother, I clicked my tongue, and thought, how could parents let their child be that way? Turns out, my daughter Beatrice went through a short stage of biting. Shocking. And my son, Jimmy, bit my mother (in an extreme moment of affection) on the leg. It left marks. He was just under 2.

Here are a few more of my snap judgements, that have come back to haunt me:

Sharing: kids who don't share are mean-spirited. Just turns out they have to learn this necessary trait. It does not come naturally, as I once thought.

Picking up toys: Every well-mannered child should instictively pick up toys after playing. This is just how it goes in our house. Now my 3 year old absolutely refuses. I'm sure this rebellion is just a stage, but my 5 year old never did this...

Sharpies: My oldest sister moved into a new house, which was professionally wall-papered. Her 2 year old got a hold of a sharpie (permenent, of course) and marked up the walls in a few rooms, before being discovered. She did a lot of damage. How could my sister and her husband let this happen?? Why in the world does this toddler even have access to Sharpies?? She is old enough to know better. Well, a few weeks ago, after putting down a fresh tablecloth on our dining room table, and setting the kids up with paper and colored pencils, I started making supper. They were drawing quietly, so I let them alone. When I was ready to put dinner on the table, I asked my husband to help the kids clean up. Should be a simple matter of collecting pencils, and stacking paper. He came into the kitchen, and told me I wasn't going to like the mess. As usual, I assumed he was overreacting. Come on, it'll clean up fast, I coached him. I walked into the dining room, where my 3 year old sat with a thick blue Sharpie. He had drawn all over the tablecloth, and himself. My 5 year old had just sat and watched, facinated. They both knew better...

Being a parent is so humbling.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Sleepovers Already?

Well, this is going to have to be a short note - we've got a few things going on this morning. But a new request came to me yesterday evening, as I cut the grass. A family has moved in next door to us, including a 6 year old girl (my daughter Beatrice is almost 5). The family is not new to the neighborhood - they just moved a few houses down, closer to us.

We've been in this house almost a year now, and some of the neighborhood kids have, about a month ago, started coming over to "help" me in the garden. Planting spring bulbs, marigolds; pulling weeds - all afternoon garden activities have become a community event. It's fun getting to know these kids.

So, back to yesterday. The girl next door asked Bea if she could spend the night. Have a sleepover. Bea came to me to ask me, and I said "no." So the little girl came over and told me she had cleared it with her mom, and could Bea please spend the night? Again, I kindly but matter of factly, no. We don't know this family. We're lucky if we get a hello or goodbye as the dad goes to work.

We went inside soon afterwards, for storytime and bedtime. Later that night, I discussed the issue of sleepovers with my husband. I mean, it's bound to happen, but at almost 5, it seems too soon. Why was my reaction to say instantly, "no"?

I went online, looking for some tips - some sort of guidelines to follow. Nothing. One site mentioned that it's a good idea to know where the family lives, and to have a phone number, so that if you're out of town, you can still reach your child. Please.

So, I have to come up with my own. Help!

1. Know the parents. Well.
2. My child must be 6 years old before a sleepover happens.
3. Smoke alarms in the house where they're staying? Firearms secure? (How do you ask that?)
4. Background check??

The idea of childhood sleepovers stresses me out. My mom was so overprotective of me, growing up. Am I just following in her footsteps? I hope not.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Fast Food Nation-The Movie

Click the button below to watch the Fast Food Nation-The Movie trailer...

I'm not sure I need to say more since this is a constantly re-occurring topic on Stuntmom. Should be something for all to see (can we take our kids?). I know the tours of the meat packing industry alone will curb your need for the golden arches.