Category Archives: Smile

5 Kid-friendly foods you can make at home

Feeding kids is expensive and never-ending. You buy a box of snacks at the store, only to find them wiped out by the end of the day.

Sure, it is easier, to whip up a box of mac ‘n cheese or open a package of cookies, and believe me, I do that often, but, if you have a little time, there are plenty of kid-favorite foods which can be made easily, while saving you a few bucks at the grocery store. Continue reading

The five judgmental people you are bound to meet as a parent

When you become a parent, you enter a world that is nothing but loving, supportive and judgement free. Just kidding.

While, I certainly hope you have at least a small group that fits the aforementioned description, chances are as you will encounter several sanctimonious people who believe they know best, and will be sure to tell you that any chance they get.

Parents are getting judged all the time by people around them. From the moment you have your first baby, to even seasoned moms, everyone is giving parenting advice and telling you how to be a parent. Here are five types of judgmental people you’ll meet as a parent. Continue reading

African-centric foundation inspired by young Malawian who “harnessed the wind”

Necessity is the mother of invention, or so goes the famous quote from the Ancient Greek philosopher Plato. 

Yet, while necessity might be the mother, sometimes, it takes a child’s dream, determination and fortitude to bring that invention to life.

William Kamkwamba was one such boy.

When a severe famine hit is country, Malawi, William defied the odds and found a way to produce a windmill that could produce enough power to pump water for crop irrigation.

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Working off of an old textbook, written in English, a language William didn’t know well, William was able to use the diagrams to deduce how to construct a windmill. He found materials at the scrap yard, and with a little ingenuity, was able to build what would be the first of several windmills in his community, Dowa.

William did all this at just 14, and with only the help of the local library, as he was forced to drop out of school due to his family’s inability to pay the fees.

But, William wasn’t done there. Continue reading

Nutella, white chocolate bring fun twist to traditional hamantaschen

Purim is almost here, and that means hamantaschen.

Yum!

So what is Purim anyway?

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Well the story is a bit more complicated than this, but essentially the holiday celebrates the freeing of the Jews of Persia from a hateful decree by the king’s advisor, Haman.

Haman? Hamantaschen? Are they related?

Yup!

Hamantaschen are filled, triangle-shaped cookies, which, supposedly look like Haman’s hat.

Why would we want to eat a cookie shaped like the hat of a man who wanted to destroy the Jewish people? I’m not sure. But, they are delicious and super fun to make. Continue reading

If moms were on “The Circle”

A little late to the party, I know, but I’m finally watching “The Circle” on Netflix, and I am hooked.

For the unfamiliar, “The Circle” is reality competition, which pits together a bunch of millenials in an attempt to see who’s the savviest social-media master. Contestants live in a giant apartment complex with no access to the other players, save for communication via a portal known as the “circle.” Each contestant can play as any persona they wish, whether themselves or someone completely fictional, and share photos and videos, as well as text chat.

With the players mostly being young and single, you can imagine many of the chats go in a flirtatious or even sexual direction, and of course there’s lots of scheming and backstabbing.

As I was watching the show, I wondered how I would fare in such a competition. I am a married mom of two, so I probably wouldn’t get far playing the “sexy” card.

This got me thinking: what would “The Circle” be like if it was all moms in the competition?

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Now, let’s be honest, if you’re a mom, you are probably living some version of “The Circle” right now. How many of us spend way too much time in various parenting groups, trying not to punch our screens when we read stupid comments? Or is it just me?

If they ever made a mom version of “The Circle,” they’d have people lining up to be on this show. A bunch of days alone in your own apartment, and nobody allowed to bother you?

Where do I sign? Continue reading

We all contribute to our families’ success

“Who has more bills, you or daddy?”

My son asked me, while we were chatting in the kitchen.

“Neither of us do,” I answered. “Dad may pay a certain amount to use the gym, and I may pay a certain amount on my dance class, but we share a budget, and all of us contribute, even you and your brother.”

I went on to explain while his father is the one who brings in the most financially, and that it is important to recognize that, it is just as important to recognize the non-monetary contributions all of us make.

I spoke about how my writing, though not a big moneymaker, enables me to be home when needed, take care of household chores (however poorly I manage them), take his brother to speech services, and other tasks that would be difficult to complete if I was working full-time.

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I reminded my son his role (and his brother’s) is just as important as his parents. I explained how helping with the laundry, cleaning up his toys and being a good brother, all contribute to happy and well-functioning household.

We are all in this together, and we all play a part. Continue reading

Simple, flavorful roasted cauliflower

I eat a (mostly) vegetarian diet, which means produce plays an important part of my diet. Living with a bunch of meat-loving boys (my husband included), meant that I was often left eating my veggies on my own.

Over the years we’ve been together, I have shown my husband that many of the vegetables he thought he didn’t like could actually be very tasty, if cooked the right way.

For me, roasting vegetables is almost always the best way to bring out their delicious flavor — with the help of a good blend of spices, of course.

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One of the easiest, and tastiest, vegetable dishes, I love to make, is roasted cauliflower.

Cauliflower provides a neutral palette for a variety of seasoning options, but my go-to is turmeric. Not only does this spice give the cauliflower a beautiful color, it adds a nice smokey undertone, and has lots of nutritional benefits to boot.

Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients:

1 cauliflower head chopped, or one bag pre-cut cauliflower

3 Tbsp – Olive oil

1 Tsp – Salt

1 Tsp Pepper

1 Tsp Turmeric

Directions:

Toss cauliflower in olive oil, than mix in the salt, pepper and turmeric.

Place cauliflower in casserole pan, baking sheet or whatever else you have on hand, just be sure it is large enough to spread out the cauliflower pieces.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes (or to desired crispness).

And that’s it. An easy dish that is healthful and flavorful

This cauliflower dish makes a great side, or even a good snack. Even my four-year-old enjoys it.

So whether you are going meatless or just want to eat more veggies, this dish is a simple, tasty addition to your rotation.

 

This book made me appreciate teachers even more

Whenever I think about who inspired me to become a writer, my second-grade teacher comes to mind.

When I think about who inspired me to think critically, and ask questions, a high school teacher comes to mind.

When I think about who will shape and influence my children over the years, teachers come to mind.

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The importance and value of great teachers cannot be understated. These dedicated servants to education can make all the difference in the lives of our children.

I have long had a deep respect for this profession, yet, I never fully understood the depth of work and devotion to this career, until I got my hands on a copy of Schooled: A Love Letter to the Exhausting, Infuriating, Occasionally Excruciating Yet Somehow Completely Wonderful Profession of Teaching. Continue reading

Ten hilarious toddler theories on what we do in the bathroom

Before children, I had no idea how lucky I was to be able to use the bathroom in peace and privacy. Ah, to just use the toilet with nobody pounding on the door or screaming for you the whole time. Those were the days.

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Once I had kids, I soon learned peeing with the door closed is a luxury reserved for those without kids.  Any attempt to shut the door and do my business was thwarted by the blood-curdling screams of tiny humans who couldn’t handle me “disappearing” for five minutes.

Small children have no concept of time, so whether their parents go on a trip for a week, or to work for several hours, their reaction is pretty much the same every time: flip the eff out. For some reason, however, when their parents decide to spend a few minutes in the bathroom, these little ones really lose their shit.

I mean it is just bonkers the reaction tiny tots have to the simple act of a grownup trying to use the facilities.They scream and panic as if they are being tortured, and because no parent wants to be accused of torture, we often settle for peeing with the door open.

But, when parents do decide to bravely shut the bathroom door for some much needed solace, where do the concerned babies and toddlers think we disappear too?

I have some theories:
Continue reading

Groceries and gratitude

“The card didn’t go through,” the cashier said, after I attempted to pay for my groceries.

I inserted my credit card into the reader once more.

Again, nothing.

I sighed heavily, baffled by why my card wasn’t working.

I don’t struggle financially.

My payments are on time.

I was annoyed.

After a failed third attempt, I used a different card.

I left the store still annoyed and embarrassed.

I hated the idea of people thinking I couldn’t afford those groceries — that I was deemed unfit by the credit card company to pay in such a manner.

But, as I drove away, I felt something deeper.

Shame.

Not the shame of feeling misjudged for my economic status,

But the shame at myself for allowing myself to think so negatively of those who are less fortunate that the mere idea that others would perceive me in the same light made me so angry.

I like to believe I am a compassionate person.

I support many causes.

I try to give back in my community and beyond.

And, yet, I am still part of a society which teaches us to put so much worth and value in one’s economic standing.

From a young age, we are inundated with the notion that those who work the hardest will be rewarded, and that those who are less fortunate than we are simply didn’t try hard enough.

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We are conditioned to believe:

Poor equals lazy.

Poor equals stupid.

As if there aren’t plenty of rich, lazy people roaming the earth.

But, thinking negatively of those who have less makes it easier to write them off.

It makes it easier for people like me to feel better about ourselves.

But, we all know the truth.

How much any of us has doesn’t make any of us a better human being.

Living in a huge house doesn’t make us any kinder.

Having a designer wardrobe doesn’t make us any more empathetic.

Driving a nice car doesn’t make our actions any greater.

Going on expensive trips doesn’t make our souls any more fulfilled.

Our stuff doesn’t make us better.

In this time of year when it is easy to focus on being grateful for the material things, I am going to remember that things I hold in my hands are nothing compared to what I hold in my heart.

I will encourage my children to think of others this season, and do my best to model acts of kindness.

I will pause before judging others, whose situations I do not know, and even better, try to take the time to learn more about them.

And, I will allow myself room for growth, and forgiveness.

A version of this post originally appeared on the Maybe I’ll Shower Today Facebook page.