Friday, February 25, 2011

Teach Them Tolerance & Love...

I have been thinking a LOT lately about teenagers.  (Maybe it is because I have two of them myself and quite often have extras over at my house.)  I am the first one to admit that kids at that age can be loud, obnoxious, unaware of their surroundings, etc., but sometimes I have to sit back and take a minute to remember what I was like as a teenager and thank heaven that there were adults around me that were tolerant and loving. 

We live in a very young area.  By that I mean that most of the couples are in their twenties/early thirties and have very young children.  Mike and I are actually probably among the top ten oldest couples in our congregation!  I love the people in our area dearly.  We have made some very close friends and enjoy where we live very much.  However, sometimes it is really hard being one of the VERY few parents of teenagers around here. There are not many people that we can commiserate with who understand what life with teenagers is like and quite frankly, the handful of couples that have had teenagers seem to have already forgotten how their kids were.

Although the majority of people in our area are very young, and not that many years from being a teenager themselves, it surprises me how quickly they forget what they were like at that age.  As a parent, I frequently have to remind myself of some of the things I did as a teenager... sneaking out, breaking curfew, toilet papering people's houses, partying, flirting, just to name a few.  I don't think there is one of us out there who didn't do at least one, more than likely several things as teenagers that we regretted!  So how is it that as adults we all of a sudden expect that the teenagers around us should be perfectly behaved and become intolerant of them if they aren't?

What bugs me the most is that we have a very good group of boys in our area who pretty much stay out of major trouble. As of now there has been no sneaking out, breaking curfew, toilet papering, etc...  Still, I have a son who just a couple of nights ago informed me that he is tired of people giving them crap and thinking that they are up to no good all the time even if they are just playing ball or hide and go seek.   He is insistent that he would rather just hang with his friends at home instead of attending activities where he doesn't feel welcome.  This is so sad to me. Mostly because the men that actually work with these boys are absolutely awesome and ironically, NOT the ones that give them a hard time at all.

There have been a few experiences the past few weeks with different individuals that have made me ponder on these things.  Here is one example:  There was an incident a couple of weeks ago where the boys were reprimanded as a group for something silly that a couple of them did.  When I first heard of what they had done I sat them down myself and said... "Really?  What the heck were you thinking?"  I then listened to them explain about what had gone down that night that resulted in them making this decision...

The short version of the story is that a man who they didn't know at all, (whom they affectionately call "suit man"... remember, these are 14 year old boys), made it his business to be in their face throughout the evening.  In their eyes, this man who insisted on following them around had preconceived notions that they were up to no good at the church, even though they were simply playing basketball and hide and go seek with their leaders.  Because he continued to make unsolicited comments to them, they retaliated by knocking on the outside window of the room they saw him walk in to, (which happend to be another wards Bishop's office), and then they ran away laughing.  

As a parent of a teenager, was I surprised when I heard this was the outcome?  Ummm... not really. They are teenagers. Do I think that it made it ok that they did it?  Of course not!  And I told them that they made a bad decision and not to do that again.  But honestly, I do understand their thought process, and the immature teenage version of myself would have probably done something similar if not worse.

Unfortunately, their retaliation to this man gave this man the fuel he needed/wanted to form his complaint against these boys, making them feel like they are now branded trouble-making teens.  Do not get me wrong... I absolutely believe that teenagers need discipline and they need to be told when they are doing something wrong... but in this case, I am just not sure that their actions were not unduly shaped by the way they were treated initially by "suit man".  And sadly, in their very sensitive eyes, this experience has possibly changed attitudes of people they love and respect towards them.

Now just so that you know I am not simply being a protective parent, I will tell you that my son was NOT one of the kids that knocked on the window, but he was there to witness it. Of course, I am in no way an expert on Teenagers... (I am definitely learning just like anyone else),  but I have a special place in my heart for them.  Maybe it is because I have served as the Young Women's President for an accumulated 5-6 years in the past decade or so.  Maybe it is because my kids are now that age and I know how real and sensitive their feelings are.  Maybe it is because I had a Young Women's leader who was anything but kind and tolerant of me and I never want another teenager to feel the way I did.  Whatever the reason, I just implore people to get to know the youth of their area and teach them tolerance and love and respect through EXAMPLE.  They are going to make mistakes as they find themselves and learn how to deal with situations and problems.  Just love them anyway.

A few years from now the 200+ little kids in my neighborhood will be teenagers and I hope and pray for their sakes that by that time their parents and the other people around them will be reminded of how they acted when they were that age. Maybe then they will remember to be a little more patient and a little kinder. On the lighter side of things, Hubby and I will definitely be having a good giggle at their expense when that time comes. ;)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mike Jr's Debut...

Dee is always the one that gets the musical spotlight in our fam.  Today tho, I am giving some props to my "little man," (who is definitely not so little anymore!)  Mike is 14 yrs old and has a natural knack for rhythm. He had about four months of once a week lessons on a single snare drum when he was in 4th grade. That's it! He listens to songs on his ipod, picks out the rhythm and just goes for it. This is the first time he has recorded himself playing and it was for a seminary talent show.
 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Wee Bit Of Me...




{one} what is your favorite breakfast food?

Right now it is honey nut cheerios or a light multi-grain muffin with light spread
If I could eat anything... scones with clotted cream and jam???



{two} how many pairs of shoes do you currently own?

probably like 12 actual pairs of shoes... three or which I wear regularly...
but I also own about 30 pairs of flip flops!


{three} city or country?

I love the country...
but I need a grocery store and a target within short driving distance :)


{four} what is your favorite part of your job?

when I can work at home! :)
But I also LOVE the people in the office I work with.


{five} what is your favorite junk food to snack on?

A good British chocolate bar.


{six} have you ever been mentioned in the newspaper?

Not specifically, but my pic was in there when I played varsity basketball for my high school.


{seven} do you use post-it notes?

Yes, but mostly just for work.


{eight} do you have freckles?

Yup, WAY too many!


{nine} is it okay for men to wear pink?

It takes a REAL man to wear pink!


{ten} when was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?

I still make and write thank you, birthday and other celebration cards by hand... does that count?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mongolian Beef...


I have searched for a good recipe for P.F. Chang's Mongolian Beef for a long time.  The other day I happened across an excellent copy cat on Food.com.  This is absolutely DELICIOUS!  A little fiddly with the beef and cornstarch, but totally worth it.  As a side note, I did not fill my pan with a cup of oil so the beef was covered.  I just coated the bottom and cooked it both sides, then blotted off as much of the oil as I could before returning it to the skillet to finish.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
vegetable oil, for frying (about 1 cup)
1 lb flank steak
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 large green onions

Make the sauce by heating 2 tsp of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over med/low heat. Don't get the oil too hot. Add ginger and garlic to the pan and quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches. Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to about medium and boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove it from the heat.

Slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/4" thick bite-size slices. Dip the steak pieces into the cornstarch to apply a very thin dusting to both sides of each piece of beef. Let the beef sit for about 10 minutes so that the cornstarch sticks. As the beef sits, heat up one cup of oil in a wok (you may also use a skillet for this step as long as the beef will be mostly covered with oil). Heat the oil over medium heat until it's nice and hot, but not smoking. Add the beef to the oil and sauté for just two minutes, or until the beef just begins to darken on the edges. You don't need a thorough cooking here since the beef is going to go back on the heat later. Stir the meat around a little so that it cooks evenly. After a couple minutes, use a large slotted spoon to take the meat out and onto paper towels, then pour the oil out of the wok or skillet.

Put the pan back over the heat, dump the meat back into it and simmer for one minute. Add the sauce, cook for one minute while stirring, then add all the green onions. Cook for one more minute, then remove the beef and onions with tongs or a slotted spoon to a serving plate.
Enjoy! :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The "Safe" Cake...

I went to Smiths to buy one of their colossal birthday cupcakes for a co-worker of mine this week.  I was so proud of myself for thinking about it the day before so I wouldn't have to stop on the way to work at 6am the next morning. 

The lady checking me out put it carefully in to a bag and said, "Oh, let's keep this safe shall we?"  Next thing I know she puts the bag ON IT'S SIDE and puts it in the child seat part of the cart.

I just don't dare look at it until I am out of her view because I am frightened of what I will actually say to her.  I get to the car and take a peek.  The beautiful cupcake now looks like this:



I wonder what it would have looked like if she WASN'T trying to keep it safe?  Oh well, the fam ate this one and I ended up stopping on my way to work at 6am to get another one... thanks lady!

Friday, February 4, 2011

We're On To You Dee...

Hot Hubby & I are starting to see a pattern with Dee when it comes to spending her money on crap for her...

Here are some phrases she is famous for:

"Mom, I want you to come with me to the store!"
Translation:  I want you to pay for my stuff

"Mom, I need your (debit) card?"
Translation:  I want you to pay for my stuff

"Mom, I don't want to break a twenty.  Can't you just add it with your stuff?"
Translation:  I want you to pay for my stuff

"Mom, I forgot my wallet"
Translation:  You are going to have to pay for my stuff

"Mom, I'll pay you back as soon as we get home."
Translation:  You are paying for my stuff

"Mom, but you bought Mike _______"
Translation:  You owe me to pay for my stuff

Dee, your Dad and I are on to you... You are going to be breaking those twenties and paying for your miscellaneous crap!  Just sayin'!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dear Grocery Store Managers,

I don't now, nor have I ever gotten the concept of express lanes in grocery stores.  For one thing, you are giving the faster checkout times to the people who are buying the LEAST amount of items in your store.  Second, I have actually seen people put items BACK and NOT purchase them so that they can go through this line.  Third, as a consumer it really ticks me off that though I am spending a good chunk of money in your store, I am standing in line much longer than the people who are choosing to spend just a few. 

Here's the thing... my time is just as valuable as the person who buys fewer items.  Just because I am buying a lot, it does not mean that I don't want to get out of the store quickly.  And if I get to the check out before someone who is buying two items, I should be checked out before them... not stuck in the line to the left watching them getting checked out immediately while there are two more people ahead of me.

With the invention of self check out, express lanes should just be obliterated!  If they are in that much of a rush then let them check themselves out and leave your employees to help your most profitable customers, or at least the ones who are ok waiting for someone to check them out.  Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Tired Of Watching Them Leave Before Me

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Avo"carb"o Burger...


I frequently tell my husband that talking to him is like talking to a brick wall.  I have to repeat things ten times because he just doesn't listen to me the first time.  Good thing I love him so much.  Case in point. 

He recently went to pick up food for us at Carl's Jr.  He asked me what I wanted and I told him "a guacamole bacon burger please".  I had been craving it for two weeks as we have been trying to be good and eat healthier meals at home.  It is my absolute favorite burger anywhere.  I made sure I repeated it at least twice more before he went, knowing that... well, talking to him is sometimes like talking to a brick wall.  I even asked if he wanted me to write it down for him!  "No, no... I got it", was his reply... just like usual ;)

About 25 mins later he comes home and I hear him mutter "oh my gosh" under his breath as he puts our burgers on plates so we can watch a movie together.  He then says... "They got your burger wrong!" 

"Oh, it's fine... what is it?"  I answer, trying not to sound disappointed.  "It says "low carb" on it", he informs me as he hands me a burger with ketchup, cheese and what looks like a WHOLE head of lettuce on a wheat bun.  To say it looks pretty gross is an understatement.  But I smile and take it and say "don't worry about it... I can eat it." 

Crap, it tastes even worse than it looks.  All I can think of is that I would rather they hadn't given me a bun that put that burger on this yucky wheat one.  I take off most of the lettuce, smother the burger in honey mustard hoping that it will help give it some flavor and swallow.  Eww.  Thank heavens there are fries with this.

As I continue to force the burger down my throat he tells me that the burger actually didn't come with a bun.  It was just wrapped in lettuce.  (Ha, that explains the WHOLE head of the stuff.)  Turns out he gave me his bun.  Bless his heart.  I almost die laughing and tell him what I was just thinking about the bun and we have a good giggle over it together.

"So what exactly did you order me?"  I asked, sensing that there may be more to this than meets the eye.  "The avocado burger just like you told me" he replies.  "Uh, they don't do an avocado burger sweetie.  It's called a guacamole bacon burger." 

At this point my guess is the lady at the drive through heard avoCARBo burger and gave me the low carb one instead.  Ah, my sweet, funny husband.  Needless to say I got a surprise guacamole bacon burger brought home this week from my honey. :)  I don't think he will EVER get that order wrong again. :)