Kids and Food, Raising Teenagers

The Great Food Challenge (or Why I Wish Spongebob Ate Spinach Like Popeye)

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Do you think American pioneer teenagers in the 1800’s ever sat down at the dinner table, folded their arms across their chests and announced, “I REF– USE to eat this disgusting salt pork!!”?  Did their younger siblings push the freshly picked-and-prepared peas to the far edges of their plates? I’ve been wondering that lately as I ponder my kids’ food aversions, and remember my own childhood dislikes.  Something tells me kids have always had strong opinions on food.  I’ve looked for clues in the Little House on the Prairie series, which Emmie and I have been reading together this summer, but haven’t found anything.  So …

Being a Better Parent, Humor

Yes Days

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Our pastor, whose children are grown, was telling those of us in his Sunday School class a couple weeks ago that he used to have “Yes” days with his kids– a day once in awhile where Dad would say yes to every request.  “What kinds of things did they ask for?” I asked him. “Oh, it usually involved ice cream,” he said.  “We’d go for ice cream a couple of times in one day.”
How fun, I thought, but if I tried that with my kids, I think I’d be broke pretty quick. No, make that, I know I’d be broke pretty …

Travel With Kids

Little Ones Need To Travel, Too

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My friends who are professional travel advisors have been telling me for months that “it’s too cheap not to travel this summer”.  Some thoughts about vacations, for people who are talking themselves out of traveling because they think their kids are too young– or for people who know families like that:

Six summers ago, we took our kids on a Southern California adventure trip when one was 8 and the other was 4. We’d saved up airline miles so that all four of us flew free, so we splurged and went to the Hotel Del Coronado, Legoland, the San Diego Zoo, and …


Those “Scary” Kids With Older Siblings

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Good parents care about who their kids hang out with– right?  I remember, when my first child began elementary school, being concerned about the influence of her friends who had older siblings– those kids saw movies I wouldn’t dream of letting my child see; those kids heard words I wouldn’t want my own to hear.  They were more “worldly”– they “grew up faster”.  And I wasn’t the only one who thought that– I met other parents who felt the same way. 
I never stopped to think that not only had I been one of those kids, my second child would become one.

There is a ten …

Luke the Dog

Mom’s Pet Service

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It’s such a cliche’, but it’s true– all family pets eventually become Mom’s.  Over the last 15 years, I’ve become the reluctant (and eventual guilt-ridden) caretaker of two goldfish named Goldie and Glowy (accidentally killed ’em within a week of owning them); a long-haired guinea pig named Snickers (he lasted a few years– but eventually got a kidney stone and died, probably because I didn’t add enough fresh veggies to his diet); an anole named Colors (kind of looked like the Geico gecko– I dutifully bought him a bag of mini crickets and a meal worm each week…but I think …

Sharing and Venting

Unsolicited Parenting Advice– From A Telemarketer?!

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Emmie, my 10-year-old, posed a humorous question to me yesterday, as she was making her lunch and our caller ID voice (who we think sounds just like the lady from our neighborhood Chinese restaurant) suddenly filled the air.  Emmie had just heard me say, “Don’t answer it– I recognize that name and it’s a telemarketer.”  She paused a moment, pouring leftover chili into a bowl, and said, “Mom, do telemarketers like getting calls from telemarketers?” What a great question.  I wonder if they do? I wonder if they run to the phone with glee and always pick up, listen carefully, and then say something nice? 

I …

Being a Better Parent, Random Thoughts

Friendship 101

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Do you have friends you’ve kept up with since childhood? High School? College? First job? If you’re a parent, who among your kids’ friends do you think they’ll still be close to when they’re in their 40’s and beyond? I think one of the best gifts we can give our children, and ourselves, is to help foster and nurture deep friendships.  I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, as I count down the days until my teenager starts high school (66 as of today– I can’t believe it!) and watch my kids spend their summer hours.  Having “best friends” in …

Being a Better Parent, Giving Kids Some Freedoms

In Defense of Summer Camp

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Growing up, I was a huge fan of summer “sleep away” camp.  I went, year after year, to a small one that sat on the bluffs above a wide bend in the Mississippi River near Montrose, Iowa, and I liked it for all the reasons you’d think someone would like camp: New friends (that became lifelong friends), fun stuff to do, nice counselors, new skills (I learned synchronized swimming, macrame’ and tetherball, to name a few), campfires, crazy songs, and being surrounded by nature, for a whole week.  But when my teenager first went to the same camp when she was nine, she loved …

Helicopter Parent Hall of Fame

When Helicopter Parenting Results in Tragedy

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This weekend marks the one-year-anniversary of something outrageous that happened in my neighborhood. It is so outrageous yet true, and I think ultimately related to parenting, that I wanted to share it.  First, a bit of background:

We have a long alley that runs behind our house.  Most people in our neighborhood just see fences when they look across their alley.  A couple houses have city streets running perpendicular into the alley, directly behind their property. Our neighbor, whom I’ll call David, owns one of those houses. When he and his wife bought the house, they were assured by the realtor that …

Humor, Kids and school

A School Bus “Education”

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Remember that school field trip I recently said I would be attending as a chaperone? Here’s the post I made about it at, a community website/blogsite of the Dallas Morning News. But beware, ye who blush easily- this is the “uncensored” version.

Ah, nothing like being on a field trip to a museum with a bunch of giggling 4th graders, viewing a bunch of phallic art– and not just at the exhibit.  In fact, I’m not sure where I saw more– on the statues at the Dallas Museum of Art, or drawn all over the seats of the Dallas County school bus …