Saturday, March 31, 2007

This week (and last)...

What we ate....
Meatloaf (which my picky eater even ate!) with mashed sweet potatoes and peas
Curry chicken strips with apricot mustard sauce along with whole wheat mac and cheese*
Turkey and spinach lasagna
Burgers with onion and mushrooms and goat cheese with cummin potato wedges
Pasta with veggies and cheese
Potluck at school...yummy!!
White and Black beans with couscous and salsa veggies
Tofu stir-fry with rice noodles and peanut sauce
Barbeque tofu
Pizza with apples and carrots and peanut yogurt dip
Pasta with white bean and tomato sauce

What we read...
the toddler...Make Van Gogh's Bed, What do you say?, Let's Count (with Bob Builder)
the preschooler...a set of Mickey Mouse and friends books, Pirates Don't Change Diapers (sequel to How I Became a Pirate by David Shannon)
the 10 yo...So Be It, again, and she gave a book report about 2 books about Brazil
the mom...Seeing by Jose Saramago (sequel to Blindess that I read last summer)

What we watched....
Movies....Over the Hedge (at the theater), Cinderella, Inside Man, Borat
TV...Curious George, Backyardigans, Phil of the Future, Kids' Choice Awards, House, Ace of Cakes (my new favorite show!), the finale of Grease, the one that you want, Dancing with the Stars

What we listened to....
Scissor Sisters (my favorite band, right now....great music to dance and work out to, and the kids love long as they don't listen to the words too
Dan Beahm and the Invisible Three (a friend of
Tally Hall
Our kids mix on iTunes

*Recipe of the Week
Curry Chicken Strips with Apricot Mustard Sauce

Chicken tenders (about 16) or chicken breast (4) cut into strips
2 tablespoons yogurt
1 tablespoon apricot jam
2 tablespoons orange juice
1-3 tsp curry powder
salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients except chicken in large bowl. Add chicken and mix to coat. Set aside for 10 mins to overnight. Bread in your favorite breading (I like a mix of 2 parts bread crumbs, 1 part cornmeal, 1 part flour, salt and pepper). Pan fry 3 mins per side or bake in oven for 15-20 mins.

Mix 3 tablespoons yogurt, 2 tablespoons apricot jam, 2 tablespoons mustard (any kind you like), 1 tsp honey, salt and pepper. Allow to set for 10 minutes. Keeps for 1 week.
Whole Wheat Mac and Cheese
the recipe of 2's
2 cups whole wheat mac or noodless
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups skim milk
2 cups cheese, whatever blend you like (cheddar is traditional)
pinch of dried mustard
salt and pepper
Boil a large pot of water with a lid. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter. Once melted, add flour and whisk until smooth (may be a big lump, that's ok). Cook and stir mixture for 3 minutes. Add milk and whisk until smooth. On medium heat and stirring often, bring to boil. Once to boil, reduce heat and simmer 5-10 mins, stirring often. Add mustard and salt and pepper. Add cheese and stir until combined. Turn off the heat. Meanwhile, when water comes to boil, add noodles, and drain when cooked. Return noodles to pot or large bowl. Add cheese sauce and stir until combined. Allow to set a couple minutes.
(You can put in casserole dish and top with extra cheese and buttered bread crumbs. Bake at 350 F until golden.)
Homemade mac and cheese takes just as long as the box!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Keep yours on a leash

This is the subject of an email in my inbox today (from

Jogging Strollers, Leashes for kids, Makeup & more...

This was just after I had seen a group of small kids with harnesses and a rope connecting them while on a walk with their teacher.

Do our kids need leashes? I know some people argue that even dogs don't need to be on leashes. The sight of kids on a leash always strikes me. Yes, I understand that if you have a group of young ones on a walk to the park, especially if you have to cross a busy street, may benefit from holding hands or even holding a group rope...harnessing your child seems wrong to me.

Anyone have any thoughts?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Movie Review

Friday was Girls' Night for my daugther and I (and Boys' Night for the men of the family). So we decided to go to dinner and a movie. With a lack of movies for the younger kids, we haven't been in awhile and even so had only three to choose from....Bridge to Teribithia, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (like we really needed a remake of that one), and, our selection, The Last Mimzy.

Here is our review...
The Last Mimzy (New Line Cinema, 90 mins)

I went into this movie with no expectations and no idea what it was about...except possibly a bunny. So, for the first 45 minutes or so I was anxiously waiting for the numerous elements to come together and create the main issue at hand...saving the human race that has apparently been almost destroyed by too much toying with DNA. It starts in the future with what appears to be a storytime for a group of young children. Then we are sent back to the past...current day. We meet a family with an absent father (Timothy Hutton), mother (Joely Richardson) and two kids, Noah (Chris O'Neill) and Emma (Rhiannon Leigh Wryn). The kids find a box of odd and disconnected objects in a strange box on the beach while on vacation. These objects end up giving the children amazing powers that cause several problems in their lives including a major blackout that gains the attention of Homeland Security. In the end, with the help of Noah's science teacher (Rainn Wilson), they save the human race for several hundreds of generations.

Besides the poor acting all around (except Rainn a great departure from his signature role on the Office), the story has so much going on, that it never really comes together. My daughter left very confused and needed a couple explanations before she understood it all. Although the basic message of the movie is good...stop polluting and playing with DNA, which is stated by Wilson early on, it gets lost in the shuffle. There are some references to Alice in Wonderland and later Adam and Eve, but kids will not see them. The movie is slow and wordy...oppose the visual plotlines that I am used to in the animated set. I was disappointed that some character development gets brushed off after introduction (e.g. Noah's feelings of pre-teen worthlessness, a father who is losing touch with his family, a pair of siblings that find something to bond over). The humor in the movie was completely lost in the audience I sat with. It was clear where they has put in some laughs and jokes but no one laughed at them. There is also a somewhat frightening encounter with Homeland Security that may frighten some kids and provoke some questions about government being able to barge in on a family.

My daughter gave it a 6.9 out of 10. She liked the story, once she understood it. The special effects were cool, she said. She said it wasn't funny and the acting wasn't that good (she did a good impression of the Emma character).

Overall, this movie was ok. I would not recommend spending any money on it...wait for the library, if your older kids want to see it. I recommend it for kids 10 years and over.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Who is this guy?

Here is an opinion piece about breastfeeding in public. There is so much so say, I will say nothing.

I suppose he is completely unaware that the law protects breastfeeding mothers.

A Politics Quickie

I just want to comment that I don't like the current George Bush. I think it is pretty clear that I am liberal and I could go on for days about all the reasons I think he and his administration are incompetent and a disgrace (how about some family policy? or some good education policy?)

but for today....

Today the Pres is trying to stop Congress from talking to officials on the record and under oath about the recent firings
(in a mom-haze on current news? its ok....
Why? There is a quick way to make it look like something is fishy...say that you can't talk about it in public. This is not a time for the Republicans to try to look any worse...they have an election to try to win in 2008. Be honest Mr. President, just let us know what happened.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Movie Review

First of our town, one of our movie theater shows free kid movies for about 8 weeks in the fall and again in the spring. Yes, FREE!! Hide your own snacks in your diaper bag, and you're good to go!
Here is the link to this theater chains free movies...

Although we did try to go to the free show this week, it was sold out (something that rarely occurs...the only other time we experienced this was when they showed Harry Potter). So instead, we ran to the movie store and rented the movie that was showing. We made our living room into a movie theater (put sheets up over the windows, set up a row of seats, made popcorn, our daughter set up a ticket booth). It was fun and our kids got that movie-theater experience, well sort of.

So here's the review...Flushed Away (Dreamworks, 124 minutes)

This is a delightful movie about a pet mouse discovering the real world of rodents in the sewer. Many things happen, but overall he has to save this new world he has come to love from being flushed away from an evil frog (and his hundreds of tadpoles). The animation is great, very colorful and entertaining. The kids loved the action (many big action sequences like any other action film) and the characters. The plot was simple enough for most of us...with a mild love story and themes of family and belonging. However, the best part of the movie is for the parents watching. I didn't count...nor found all of them...the numerous references to pop culture, particularly children's pop culture (kids TV shows, movies, books, characters) as well as some older references (love the Batman jokes!). They are on the look out. Additionally, the music of the film is great...many songs sung by a slew of singing slugs.

Although the DVD extras aren't great (you must watch the preview for the Bee movie!), overall the movie was great. Well, worth the $3 we spent on it. My son likes it so much, he has been sleeping with the DVD.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Birthday Magic

Of course, many people in our lives have birthdays...and we are often asked to celebrate them with them. But it is always a challenge to find that perfect (and economical) gift. Here are some ideas we have used (I think people have liked them...or are at least polite enough to pretend).

*Kid art! Especially for the grandparents! Frame it to make it extra special.

*Photos! Frame them! Or make a collection and burn them to CD (grandparents can make it their screensaver). Make a collage!

*Make them their birthday cake!

*Plan a special day with them.

*Make a great card. Recently, we spelled out "Happy Birthday, Phil!" with our bodies, taking a photo of each letter and then printing and cutting them out OR Spell out the person's name and use each letter to describe them (D is for dancin', A is for adorable....).

*Perform a show!! This is our latest (and oldest tradition) from our family...never leave the house without a leotard and some scarves.

*Make a photo slide show

*Have the kids sing a song

*Lipsync and dance to favorite or funny song

*Write a poem about the person

*Find out what happened the day they were born (for my mom, my dh found out what was happening in the world when she was as old as each of the grandchildren (e.g. when Caryn was as old as Cooper, 1 year, it was 1952...))

*Be creative and create your own traditions (my brother has started a 'make your own birthday treat' the past two years including cake decorating and cookie making).

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Circumcision Follow Up

Here is a follow up article to the one from earlier this week on circumcision on

Friday, March 09, 2007


I know, its been awhile. Here is a great recipe we made last week!
A little taste of Thanksgiving on a weeknight...

Pecan Turkey Patties with Cranberry Sauce
1 package ground turkey (about 1 1/3 lb)
1/4 cup coursely ground toasted pecans (I used my coffee grinder)
1/2 tsp ground sage (or poultry seasoning)
pinch of cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients. Heat large non-stick skillet on medium. Drizzle a little olive oil in pan. Make small patties (any size you like...I make small ones for the kids and hamburger-size ones for the adults). Place in hot pan. Cook until brown on one side, about 5-7 mins. Flip and cook an additional 5 mins or until browned. Top with cranberry sauce.

*Can serve like burgers with buns, etc., if desired.

Jenna's Cranberry Sauce
1 package cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 cinnamon sticks
5-10 whole cloves (put these in a tea ball)
(can also use 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/4 tsp ground clove)

Put ingredients in medium sauce pan on medium heat. Bring to boil. Once berries start to pop, turn heat off. Allow to cool and thicken (you can smash more berries up with the back of a spoon for smoother sauce).

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Kids Music...that parents like

We love music in our is almost always on. We have put together some collections of our favorites to give out to other families and have to play in the car. Here is a list of our latest CD.

WW Kids Collection II
*Just a Girl...No Doubt
*Glory Days...the Incredibles Soundtrack
*Arthur Theme Song...Arthur and Friends
*Get'ch Your Head in the Game...High School Musical
*We are Ants...Ralph Covert
*I Don't Feel Like Dancin'...Scissor Sisters
*No Mirrors in my Nana's House...Sweet Honey in the Rock
*LMNO...They Might Be Giants
*Far Away Cookies...Philadephia Chicken/Caitlin McEwan
*Thomas Theme Song...Thomas the Tank Engine
*William's Doll...Free to Be You and Me
*Somebody to Love...Happy Feet/Brittany Murphy
*Bop to the Top...High School Musical
*Alphabet Lost and Found...They Might Be Giants
*Little Patch of Heaven...Home on the Range/kd Lang
*A Spoonful of Sugar...Mary Poppins/Julie Andrews
*Wouldn't it be Loverly...My Fair Lady/Julie Andrews
*Snuggle Puppy...Philadelphia Chickens/Eric Stolz
*It's Alright to Cry...Free to be You and Me
*Kiss/Heartbreak Hotel...Happy Feet/Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman
*Upside Down...Curious George/Jack Johnson
*The Binky Song...Arthur and Friends
*The Lonely Goatherd...Sound of Music/Harry Connick Jr.
*Rhubard Pie...Laurie Berkner
*Dump Truck...Ralph Covert
*Walk in Jerusalem...Ya-Ya Sisterhood/Mahalia Jackson
*Yodel-Adle-Eedle-Idle-oo....Home on the Range/Randy Quaid

New Name, Same Blog

I finally decided to change the blog name to...
A Mom for All Seasons
The content will remain similar to, book and movie reviews, stories about my kids, soapbox forums, news items....
So please check in often!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Circumcision Debate

*Soapbox Alert*

On today there was an article about the ongoing debate about circumcision.
Here's the link...

You want my opinion....
Routine newborn circumcision is wrong...yes, ethically wrong. I feel extremely strongly about this. Altering your child's body in any way that is not medically necessary or in concurrence with your practicing religion or culture is wrong. I would include circumcision, ear piercing, cosmetic surgery in this category.

Obviously boys are born with foreskin on their penises...therefore it should be there. Why would you cut if off?

Oh....your son might get more urinary tract infections....if you keep everything clean (including regular diaper changes and bathing), things will be fine. Girls are more likely to get UTI's than uncircumcised boys...what should we do about that? Teach your children to bathe properly.

Oh...your son might get more STD's....not if you teach him about safe sex and how to use a condom. Yes, there are lots of studies that say that uncircumcised men are more likely to contract an STD BUT!!! not if they practice safe sex. or your husband are circumcised and you want your son to look like daddy...your son's penis will not look like yours until he is much older (when you probably won't be showing each other your penises anyways).

Oh...his penis won't look like his friends...with the growing trend to leave boys intact, there will be a variety of penis looks coming up.

I am very concerned that doctors perform this procedure and that health insurance companies pay for it since it is NOT recommended by any medical association (and it costs money). I can't get a mole removed...even though it has higher chances of getting cancer than my son's penis. You won't bring in your daughter and ask to have her pinky toe removed....they would call social services and psych. But bring your son in and ask to have his penis cut and they say sure. It is an ethics question.

My other concern is that parents are making this HUGE decision lightly. Many parents I have talked to say, they never even thought NOT to circumcise. People think it is the norm...and in the US, we lead the world in routine circumcision but why? Parents need to get educated and learn the pro and cons of the issue (and every other parenting of my big pet peeves). It is not in American culture to least not before the World Wars....only the Jewish and Islamic faith have roots in this practice.

The trends are changing and this is why....many states health insurance programs are no longer paying for the procedure. Therefore, many boys are not being circumcised for this reason. Over time, I predict that a sign of the middle-class will be circumcision. The poor can afford it and the wealthy will be more likely educated against it.

Stepping off...although I will mention that of course my two boys are intact.

Here are some resources...
Circumcision Information and Resource Page
Circumcision Resource Center

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Smoke Free!!!

I love that my town has gone smoke-free!! Its great!!! I went out to a bar last night to see my husband play in a band and I felt no reason to leave (usually I feel terrible after about an hour in a smokey throat hurts, asthma kicks in, contacts get foggy). You can eat in a restaurant with the kids and not have to go home and bathe everyone.

I can't really understand why so many people are opposed to this...well, I can, I have heard you all (on the news, letters to the editors, at the city events). If entire states can do it and their economy can be left loss to bar and restaurant owners being the main arguement...why can't my little town or yours?

Write to your representatives and let your opinion be heard!!! And vote!!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Reading Good...Pizza Bad

Here is a link to an article to on

It talks about the Book It reading program in which children read a certain about of books or minutes and earn a free, personal-sized pizza from Pizza Hut. Many are saying this program encourages childhood obsesity as other say it is great way to encourage reading.

If you have been reading this blog, I think it is clear that I think reading is important, for all ages. And I think any program that gets kids to read is a good thing. I remember participating in this program when I was a kid...hey, Mom, free pizza!! I was excited and wanted to read more to get that pizza (we never got to have Pizza Hut). And now my daughter is participating in the program and she loves it (not that she has to work super hard to reach the goals, she reads every day). At my daughter's school they have to read an average of 15 minutes a day all month.

In the short of it....most kids eat pizza (hey, they serve it every Friday for lunch at school). Why not give the kids and families an opportunity to earn a free pizza by doing something that is great for them...reading.