Happy October everyone! I know there’s a lot going on this month, but I was surfing social media and the topic of ‘spoiling’ came up. I figured I’d write this article before the holidays get in full gear and kids really begin to lose their minds.
So way back when (in 2012) when the Khevster was 7 years old, I had written this article about how letting young kids watch the news was probably more detrimental than not. It was a good article and it was lost, along with many others when my first domain went down. It talked about how young children didn’t have the maturity to put lots of news about crimes in perspective and how we as parents needed to protect them from the stress that caused. Continue reading Network News, 2017
Yeah, the title right? I was surfing through FaceBook when a video popped up form Attn:Video that featured a mom sharing pictures of her young son doing chores. What really caught my eye was that some how, the fact that her kid was doing chores was causing a controversy among parents. I had to click on the video and read through some of the comments because I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the controversy could be. Then I got to the parents who were calling this mom lazy and saying things like child labor is illegal, clean your house yourself, you’re a terrible mom for forcing your child to work, etc. I was flabbergasted, but now at least when I come across 20 somethings who can’t boil a fucking egg or don’t know how to sort laundry, it all makes sense.
They had parents who did everything for them, because having your child pitch in to keep the place where they live clean is a form of abuse. Having them help wash the clothing that they wear and you the parents buy, is such a mean thing. I mean, surely these super-parents intend to do their children’s laundry until they’re too old to lift a laundry basket. Without chores, how the hell do you teach kids how to take care of themselves as adults? Did this many people in America really get raised without doing any chores? I find that fascinating and disturbing. I had no idea such a huge segment of the population is either able to hire someone else to do regular household chores for them, or just don’t believe there’s any value in having children work around their homes. I mean they live there too, will they expect to just take over every task that their parents ever did for them upon getting their own place? What kind of characters do people have when they can throw dirty clothes on the floor and never have to pick them up themselves? I guess I have more questions than answers in this article. All of my sons had chores and now as adults, well, they do their part. My oldest has a family and he works full time outside of his home and then comes home and takes his turn at cooking dinner and cleaning up. It’s how he was raised, everyone taking turns and doing their part in a household. Because who wants a man that never lifts a finger, or a child for that matter, making mom a slave to their messy whims? To say that I don’t understand the parents who have a problem with chores is an understatement. A chore completely by a child gives them a feeling of accomplishment and pride knowing that they are an active, caring member of a family that helps each other to live in a (semi) clean environment. It shows them just how much work it takes to maintain a home and a family and gives them some appreciation for the amount of work that their parents are doing for their happiness. Aren’t internet trolls enough proof that bratty, entitled, clueless kids can ultimately become shithead adults?
I sign up for websites all the time that have recipes and kitchen tips and the like for a couple of reasons: I like new recipe ideas and I like to see how the other half lives. What do I mean? Well for instance, today in one of my daily email newsletters, there is an article called, “How A Family of 2 Eats for $100 A Week In Boston MA”. Although the title was enough to discourage me from reading it, the description hinting at the fact that these people cook most of their meals from scratch was enough to cement the deal. Maybe because of where and how I grew up, this title worthy, amazing feat just doesn’t impress me because I can feed a family of 4 for that same hundred dollars. This OF COURSE requires cooking from scratch… where have I been, do people just not do that anymore? Do they not eat bread or sandwiches? What kind of salaries are they working with? What are they buying, organic leaks and shit from Whole Foods? (Caveat: I went into Whole Foods for the first time last week, and it was truly impressive. I was looking for a spice that one of my new, bourgie recipes required that I just couldn’t find in the hood or Target. They had it along with all types of stuff I didn’t know existed and surely wouldn’t bother with. I left with my overpriced spice and that was it.)
Do people’s kids not eat food? I mean I know a kid who doesn’t but he and his mother surely eat less than a hundred dollars worth of food per week, so it may not even apply. Is it just me or do people not buy bags of rice and other relatively inexpensive starches and fresh veggies, a couple packs of meat and make it work? Are we the only family re-purposing leftovers into other dinners and lunches? Is this a problem and could people use an example of a $100 grocery list? I’m feeling some what removed from modern life all of a sudden and now I’m going to list a week’s worth of food and meals just because fuck it, it’s a thing I guess, other websites do it. Oh and do I really need to say that if you’re a vegetarian or vegan this obviously doesn’t apply to you? Nah, my readers aren’t idiots. Most of the dry goods on my list are from Target because they’re the cheapest. For my fresh veggies I usually do Stop and Shop (because of its proximity to my Target) or a neighborhood supermarket, depending on what’s on sale that week. I also buy cheese and lunch meat from my neighborhood store by the pound because it’s convenient.
3 lbs chopped beef: $8.99
Family Pack of chicken breasts (6 large skinless): $11.99
Two 1lb bags of brown rice: $1.98
6 large sweet potatoes: about $5
1lb box of Pasta (pick your fave): $1.42
Rotisserie chicken: $4.99
Taco Kit: $4.19
Two 32 oz Vegetable broth: $1.94 each
10 Count Mission Tortillas: $2.69
18 count large eggs: $2.79
24 count Eggo Waffles: $6.99
1lb jar of Salsa: $2.69
3lb bag of small red potatoes: $2.99
Can of corn: $.79
Head of broccoli: $1.79
String beans: $2.09 (I don’t know what size, I just buy whatever size it is my store has, usually good for at least 2 dinners, sometimes 3.)
8oz bag of shredded cheddar: $2.79
6 count bag of bagels: $2.99
64 oz Tropicana orange juice: $7.99
1/2 gallon of 2% milk: $3.79
loaf of sliced, packaged, honey whole wheat bread: $2.79
2 loaves of Italian bread (not sliced): $3.58
Jar of pasta sauce: $2.19
2 bags of tortilla chips: $6
Bunch of asparagus: $2.50
Bag of spinach: $2.49
$3 worth of sliced American cheese and $7 worth of sliced lunch meats like roast beef, honey turkey, etc.
Ok, I went over by a dollar, but does this seem like a lot of food for $100 or not very much to you? I can make 2 separate dinners with that rotisserie chicken, the first one would consist of pieces of chicken with mashed potatoes (the little red ones, no need to peel, take about 20 minutes to boil and a few more to mash with a little butter, milk, salt & pepper) and string beans. The second would be cutting every last piece of meat off the carcass and throwing it into a pot and making tortilla soup. (Let me know if you want that recipe, talk about quick and easy!)
The 3 pounds of chopped meat would easily make 3 dinners, for example: the tacos, over-stuffed nachos, and meat sauce for the pasta. The chicken breasts are also good for at least 3 meals. I have a grill pan I love and will stand and grill chicken breasts for an hour, then eat them with various sides, or cut up in sandwiches or salad. My grilled-chicken salad is legendary among my sons and their friends and would just require swapping a bag of salad for the asparagus in my list and some feta instead of a bag of mozzarella. None of the meals require anything to be fried, and all dinners come with a heaping serving of veggies that probably represent 2 servings in the daily servings of veggies. Not to mention a liberal sprinkling of veggies in omelets or spinach on sandwiches for lunch. I’m like everyone in that I buy things like rice and potatoes in quantities that will last me for over a week and when I cook them, I often make a larger number of servings than I need for one meal, so that they can be put in the fridge and used in other meals. Sometimes when we have leftover taco meat, and leftover rice, I will have a Chipotle burrito night, where I warm it all up, set it out in bowls along with bowls of cheese and beans and corn and everyone will build their own burrito. Honestly, my weekly food budget is probably closer to $150 at this point than $100, but with a little planning and forethought, $100-$125 a week is doable for more than just two people if you are going to cut up your own veggies, and make the food from scratch, but that doesn’t mean you have to stand in the kitchen cooking for an hour a night. And let’s face it, in a family of four even during a summer break, it’s rare that every person is eating all of their meals and snacks at home anyway. And before you ask about snacks and fruit, yes, I do buy them too (I’m certainly not buying a 24 count box of waffles every week!) How big is your family, what do you spend on food in a normal week?
Did all my readers enjoy the solar eclipse on Monday, August 21st 2017? There was certainly enough hype leading up to it that it had to live up to. Now granted, we live in NYC, so the most we saw here was about 73% eclipse. It didn’t get dark and nothing especially spooky or exciting happened, but that’s ok, we New Yorkers had a blast anyway. I work across the street from the Freedom Tower and the World Trade Center Memorial, which most times is a curse. But not on eclipse day. My coworkers and I spilled onto the sidewalk and there were literally hundreds of people out there from all over the world, chatting excitedly, looking up and pointing and having an overall good time, a true party atmosphere. No eclipse glasses? No problem,they were being passed jovially from person to person so everyone could get a glimpse. The only thing missing was food and music.
My son was in Brooklyn and was enjoying his glasses, and the ability to look directly at the sun and not see just a blazing disk of light. He described being able to see features on the moon and the crescent shaped sun and obviously the fact that we hadn’t experienced totality had no negative bearing on the fun experience of an eclipse. I hope where ever you were, you enjoyed it as much as we did.
I’ve decided to start my own hashtag. Well, it might already have been thought of and be a thing but I didn’t check or do any research because I don’t care. It popped into my head this morning and I’m just going to run with it. I have been riding the New York City subways since I was a 14 year old high school freshman. I’ve been robbed on the train, assaulted, followed, fainted, fought, you name it, it’s happened. The thing is, it’s still happening. Just about every single day, there’s some human related incident that happens on my commute. So I’m starting a feature on Urban Mommys FaceBook page called Subway Chronicles ( #subwaychronicles). Because mentally ill homeless people, recession and whatever else is happening in New York City right now. Check out my page: https://www.facebook.com/urbanmommys/?ref=settings
So I’ve been searching the internet for some easy, tasty go to recipes. My last personal creation went over well at home, but not so much with the readership, as evidenced by the fact that only one person entered. Of course the one entry won the box of pasta. It was entered by my boss, who called it “Cheryl’s Green Stuff”. And since he doesn’t do social media, he printed the recipe and taped it to his wall (yes, like the old ladies in the esurance commercial – “That’s not how it works – that’s not how any of this works!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aq_1l316ow8)
It was definitely time for me to find some other recipes to post and I found a site that has become my go to for anything and everything, sort of the way I used to use AllRecipes but better. It’s www.thekitchn.com and it’s awesome. Here’s a direct link to my new favorite chicken recipe http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-spicy-chipotle-chicken-and-sweet-potatoes-240426 . I made this for the first time 2 weeks ago and it is my family’s new favorite. My 12 year old wants me to make it twice a week and The Man told me it was the best chicken I’d cooked in years. Ahem?! No TF he didn’t… ok, so this is the tastiest, easiest chicken dish basically ever. I’d be remiss not to share with my own readers. The only thing I did different was that I marinated the veggies in a bag separate from the chicken. I cooked them on a separate sheet also, but the kids love sweet potatoes in any form and these were no exception. I just hope I don’t make it to often and they get tired of it, because it’s just that easy to create the marinade, drop the stuff in baggies at night, and then come home the next day and put it in the oven for 35 minutes. Enjoy!
I started writing an article about the horrors of my recent move, then thought hey, this is a parenting website, I should get back to it. And I thought of a beautiful Facebook friend who recently gave birth to her second son so an article about fostering love and cooperation between siblings arose in my mind.
This was something I was surprised to find out now that my oldest are adults, that I was fairly good at. My sons seek out one another’s company without me trying to force them to spend time together as my own mother is prone to do. So I thought about some sibling do’s and don’ts. There are times when working it out amongst themselves will be appropriate but mostly it’s not, because that’s what you the parent should be doing especially when they’re younger.
Case in point, if your children are beating the shit out of one another, you should step in and separate them. Sorry mom, but leaving them to have at it just doesn’t work. When my sister and I were kids, we often got into nasty fist fights. I would scream across the apartment that I was killing my sister for messing up my stuff, and my mom should come get her if she didn’t want that to happen. Sometimes my mother would deign to actually enter the room at which point we would pause, fistfuls of one another’s shirts twisted in hands, fists cocked in the air and wait expectantly for intervention. At which point she’d say something like, “you two stop it now. Work it out between yourselves.” And go back to whatever we’d interrupted her from doing.
Parents, this does not work. At no point did we just let each other go, sit down and say things like, gee, if only I’d respected your justified feelings of anger after finding I’d drawn clown make up on your favorite doll with permanent marker, this fight never would have happened. No, the fight continued until (I, the older and usually ‘slighted’ party) was too tired to punch or felt a degree of satisfaction for exacting revenge. We did not grow up cooperating, hanging out together and with a strong bond of sisterly love, which I am sad about to this day because I love my sisters.
But it turns out that punching each other is something many siblings come by naturally. You have only to step in and repeatedly say, hitting your brother is not allowed. It’s tough when your little guy is the jerky one. As a toddler, my son T liked to walk up to his big brother and hit him with toys to get a reaction. Ok look I won’t lie, the first couple of times that happened and Sean jumped up and yelled, “Ow T! That really hurt!!” I covered my mouth with my hand and laughed. That was immature and of course, the little one continued. But it really wasn’t funny and I stepped in, and would take the offending toy away, say ‘No!’ and move the baby away. Surprisingly, this would upset Sean and he would run to hug his brother (who’s now crying because I told him no). After that I got a little smarter and paid better attention to my toddler so I could intervene before the hits took place and soon enough he realized that, one, hitting wasn’t tolerated and two, he didn’t want to make his brother cry anymore. As I type that sentence that wraps it all up I want to mention that it was exhausting and a lot of work and like SIX MONTHS before that break through actually happened. There were points in time during that 6 months where I just wanted to scream and tear my hair out. Or their hair out, except T still didn’t have any, so… take breaks. Keep reminding yourself that it takes a while for kids to learn to control basic impulses. Shit it takes adults a while to control some impulses, am I rite?
Don’t give up, be consistent and seriously, take breaks and leave those little hellions with someone you trust for a few hours to regain your sanity. Banging your sibling over the head is just human nature.
Now you may be wondering what hints for tourists has to do with parenting and/or kids. Initially I would’ve said you’re probably right, it has little to do with those things. But the more I think about it, the more I believe that you, visitor to my city, could be doing the kids whose parents work in this area a wonderful service by strictly adhering to these suggestions. You will send parents home who are much less aggravated and frazzled at the end of the day. That means less yelling and strife in the homes of many a New York City child. So please read on with a thought for those poor, deserving children.
New York City’s Financial District encompasses a whole lot of cool things and places to visit, like the Stock Exchange, Bowling Green Park, the statue of the Charging Bull (and now the Fearless girl, although I’ve never actually laid eyes on her because of the ridiculous crowds). There’s the 9/11 Museum, reflecting pools, and a host of other ‘attractions’ if you will. However it is worth remembering that this isn’t like a theme park where everything is geared toward the visitor experience. There are literally thousands of people who have to work here. Which means they also have to come out of their offices at times for things like meetings and lunch and commuting home. At which point you, the tourist, can potentially become a major source of stress.
- Don’t use street corners for anything other than crossing. When the walk sign turns green, WALK. Decide your next group move anywhere other than a street corner. Should you choose not to heed this advice, don’t be surprised if speeding New Yorkers whiz past you with churning elbows that could potentially jab you.
- Don’t ever buy from the first vendor. If you happen to be in Zucotti Park (the site of the famous Occupy Wall Street protests,) let the vendors see you walking back and forth between them trying to decide. Doesn’t matter if it’s a t-shirt you want or a gyro. The competition will drive your ultimate final price down if a vendor thinks his competitors are willing to undercut him by a dollar.
- Be prepared to wait around in crowds. If you’re standing in a huge group inching up to the Bull at the rate of about 9 inches every other minute because you just have to take a picture holding the Bull’s balls, then you deserve to get jostled and stepped on and wait an hour in the heat with bus exhaust choking you. When I first started here I was so amazed at this phenomenon that I actually snapped a couple of pictures of people taking smiling pictures doing that. The novelty soon wore off for me though as I see it happens EVERY DAMN DAY AROUND THE CLOCK. What the hell people?
- Never stop short and look up. Never. If you’re walking down Broadway at a brisk pace and you stop suddenly and look up, there’s a 92% chance that someone is going to crash into you. Now if it’s another tourist that walks into you, you’ll be alright, a simple “oops, sorry” should suffice. However, if it’s a native New Yorker with somewhere to be, your physical safety could be in danger. And now you can’t say you haven’t been warned. Which finally brings me to the last thing:
- Just keep moving. Ideally you’ll make your plans of where you’re going when before you get off the train. But if you’re going to play it by ear, find a spot that is not the middle of the sidewalk being traversed by speeding New Yorkers. Seriously, give us a break, get out of the way. We have meetings to go to, lunch to pick up and ultimately a train or bus to catch. Thanks for coming and spending your tourist dollars, enjoy your stay and please get the hell out of the way.
I’ve got nothing right now people. I had the first third of about 7 different articles over the weekend, and this crappy Monday has sucked it all out of my head, sorry. I’m planning a move this very week and I’ve packed approximately no boxes of anything. Everyone I live with is male. I live with males ranging in age from 12 to 45 so feel my pain right now. I am grateful that my 20 year old took off to stay with a friend in New Jersey this weekend and dropped his little brother off at my sisters house. It was nice to sit and stare at the wall and then the tv without anyone asking me for anything. (Except the dogs of course and thankfully, they can’t talk and are epic cuddlers).
I had planned to write the second half of that pet article and then this whole thing on religion (or the lack thereof). But I hadn’t been alone in a room for that many hours in such a long time that I wound up not moving very much at all. Like a meditating statue or something. I just gathered my thoughts and had the idea to write all of those articles today. Didn’t happen. So my apologies if you were looking forward to my witty observations on smelly preteen boys or dinners that could not be quick enough. I’ll get back at it very soon. Maybe after I pack a box or two. In the meantime, here’s an adorable picture of my youngest in a museum gift shop pretending to be bitten by a stuffed dinosaur. You’re welcome.