Monday, August 27, 2012

Are you really prepared?

Yesterday the lights went out for about 5 minutes.  I panicked!  I am not prepared in case of an emergency.
I am prepared food wise.
Plenty of snacks and boxed drinks.  Flashlight and extra batteries.  Extra battery for my cell phone.
What I am not prepared is mentally.
I freak out if we have a tiny shake.
Okay not tiny for me.  They are all HUGE to me.
I'm a New Yawker.  The most shaking we ever get is in a train.  I do remember one in 1986 (?).  I remember not being able to sleep at all.  The birds, cats and dogs were especially noisy hours before the quake.  I thought I was going to die.
Mentally I am not prepared for anything disastrous.  I scream and cry.
I really need to get my shit together.  Two out of three of my kids still living at home and they do not need to see me losing my shit because the lights went out or if we have a little shaking going on.
Or if the a/c decides not to turn on.
So, I am going to start calming myself down.
That means not on the verge of tears when the phone rings after 10pm (casting directors, producers, directors?  Please call me early when you need my kids on set.  You will give me a heart attack. :-)   )
Or if I hear rumbling because of an earthquake or if a truck is going by and I think it's an earthquake.  True story.
Staying calm is something I need to practice. Maybe yoga breathing and not hyperventilating breathing.
Over the weekend I decided to tweak my bean stew in the crockpot.  I usually just cook it over the stove but we were really busy this weekend and I wanted to come home to food.  All I had to do was make the rice and dinner was ready 20 minutes after walking in through the door.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic (use less if you're not a fan)
1/4 cup sofrito
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup alcaparrado
2 cans beans (any will do.  I made mine with red kidney beans)
1 tsp adobo

Heat the oil in a saute pan.
Add the sofrito and tomato sauce and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
Transfer to a slow cooker and the rest of the ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
You can totally double this recipe and freeze half.


Monday, August 20, 2012

First Day of School

I kid you not when I tell you that a stay at home mom on my street was having a party at 8am this morning!
Classes in the elementary, middle and high schools start at 8am so I can only guess someone was celebrating the first day of school and it wasn't a child.
Today I sent my teen off to her first year of high school.  She showed me her outfit she had chosen as her debut to the high school.  A lavender off the shoulder tunic with one of her favorite skinny jeans.  She looked so cute today with her wavy and slightly curly hair.
Pray she has an awesome first year of high school.
She auditioned back in Spring to be part of the high school's glee and she was called in.  Super excited she is!  I hope it's everything she was hoping (minus the drama from the show) it to be.  She will be doing a lot this school year.  She still volunteers a a co-leader for the local AWANA club, part of the library teen club where she will help decide on activities for the teens, auditions and filming as much as her schedule allows.  On top of that she will continue taking acting classes and dance class and go to as many high school games.
She is such a wonderful teenager.  Friendly and unlike many teens, she doesn't believe she is in a higher status than others.  She is not your typical teen.  Her preference is to be behind a book and her favorite app is Good Reads.

Over the weekend I made a huge pot of beans and rice to celebrate our last summer before everyone is off to school (husband started last week and the tween is homeschooled).
Sent the huz to the Cuban store to get some Caribbean ingredients that are not normally found in our local grocery stores.  Yeah.  We're special.

Habichuelas Guisadas

2 tbsps olive oil
1/4 cup sofrito
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 lb peeled and diced West Indian pumpkin
1 cup alcaparrado (you can add as little or as many as you want.  I don't like to bite into one but it does enhance the flavor)
2 16 oz cans beans (you can use just about any whole bean. I used red kidney beans)
1 tsp black pepper

Heat the oil in a large pot.
When heated add the sofrito and tomato sauce and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add the water and pumpkin.
Bring to a boil and add the alcaparrado, beans, and black pepper.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

I actually doubled the ingredients to last us for a few more days since were are trying to get back to a school day schedule.




Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Public Letter to the Misinformed

In less than 7 days 2 people have said the dumbest thing about homeschoolers. Even more dumb is the fact that they know my children but yet have the need to say the most ignorant of things.

1. Do they have friends and would they have opportunities to socialize?

Seriously? Do you not know my kids? I know adults who are socially awkward (ahem) and they have been around people their own ages from kindergarten through college. My children have the opportunity to be around people of all ages, genders, classes, race and never had an awkward moment. They adapt to whatever situation is thrown at them.My teenager went to a brick and mortar school for the very first time and you know what was the first thing she noticed? Groups of kids that only hung out with kids that looked like them, dressed like them, and were in the same grade. She just could not understand why 8th graders were not "allowed" to sit with 6th graders during lunch break. I'm proud to say she sat with everyone. Traveling from one table to another was the way my social butterfly spent her time during her break. How many kids can do that? In fact, go to your Facebook page and pick any random person that you have on your timeline and scroll through their friend list. I bet you have more than one friend whose friends look just like them. Socialization indeed. Not that there homeschoolers who might be under the umbrella of what the media has portrayed homeschoolers to be. Believe me. I've met A LOT but my kids, are not one of them.

2. Are they learning anything? They can't learn at home! That's crazy talk. Don't you get tired of being near them for so long?

That type of question makes me laugh so hard. I remember when my then 1st grader went to her grandparents house for the day carrying a stack of books. She was reading the Series of Unfortunate Events. The grandfather was surprised she could read. When she came home that evening and told me I asked her what did she say. Ever the quick one she responded "what do you think I do all day?" Maybe he thought she ate chocolate and watched episodes of I Love Lucy all day. At an early age I taught them how much you can really love your library and all the wonders you can find in that great big building. There was where my tween would climb out of her stroller and discovered the aisle where you can learn all you ever wanted to know about bugs.

Of course, it's a lot of work. One mom commented on how much I say "we" when talking about how we school at home. We work from about 8am or so until about 3pm. We take breaks and maybe walk around the neighborhood during our school day.We love learning about world history.
We loved reading classics by Mark Twain.
Yes. I say WE a lot.
Like we had a rough day with school. We are taking a mental health day. We can't wait for (fill in the blank) vacation.
I won't even apologize for not having a live in nanny or a nanny on speed dial.
Of course, I have my moments when I need alone time. Thank God for the YMCA where for the past 10 years my daughters had ballet, cheerleader, gymnastics, swimming, acting and dance classes. This Mami has had plenty of me, myself, and I time.
As I go into another homeschooling year with my tween, I have no regrets.
Well, except I wish I can have a large batch of chocolate everyday.

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