Christine Park

Friday, January 11, 2013

Back to the Manic Mondays, and Tuesdays, and Wednesdays...

I knew the end of winter break was coming. Dreading the epic morning battles to get out of the house in time for school and work. A wiser mom might have maintained a more regular sleep schedule for the kids during the two weeks off, but no, I let them sleep in til 8 or 9 and stay up past their bedtimes too. Needless to say, Monday was a nightmare. I had to resort to dragging my daughter by the ankles out of bed while alternately cajoling and comforting my cranky 3-year-old son who told me, "Don't bother me, go to work, mommy."

But even more than the mornings... I was dreading the how-does-a-working-mom-make-dinner-for-her-family-in-between-dance-and-tennis dilemma that many of us face every weeknight. I scored Monday night with an easy chicken pot pie recipe. Ready made pie crusts, cream of chicken soup, milk, frozen veggies and chicken... and voila! Almost as good as Marie Callender's!

And just like that, I was out of ideas. There are only so many times we can eat spaghetti and tacos. Enter the late Mr. Food. Regardless of what you thought of his slightly creepy "OOH, it's so good!" tagline, the man was a genius at cooking shortcuts. Some of you my turn up your noses at some of his recipes, but even this wannabe foodie ain't too proud to beg.

The folks at Mr. Food's Test Kitchen are offering his Easy Weeknight Dinners: 20 Recipes for the Busy Cook cookbook for free. They've got plenty of simple dinner recipes that'll get you through your hectic schedule. Plus, they say it's a triple-tested guarantee, so you can be sure that all of the recipes included in this free eCookbook are going to turn out right the very first time you make it.

So here you go busy readers! I haven't tried any yet, but let me know if you do and I'll do the same!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

100 Ways to be Kind to Your Child

I don't know about you, but the combination of the holidays and the kids being off from school made for a few er, tense moments at my house. I mean, how was I supposed to cook up a gourmet Christmas Eve meal to wow my dozen or so guests with my daughter and son running underfoot every five minutes in the kitchen? There are only so many episodes of Caillou and Jake and the Neverland Pirates to act as a babysitter before they get bored. I think more than one threatening, "Go play, or else!" escaped my lips.

But there were also some magical moments when I was truly able to savor being a mother to my children, without the stress of having to get up early for school or work or the pressure of making dance or tennis lessons on time. We made and decorated gingerbread cookies without worrying about the colossal frosting mess. We acted out portions of their favorite movie of the moment, Brave. We had dance parties. We watched in wonder as huge snowflakes fell and made a "snow horse" with seats for the whole family to ride on.

This is what I hope my kids remember about their childhood. Not when I snapped at them in exasperation for the mess in their playroom. I don't really make New Year's resolutions, but I think I'm always trying to be a better mother. So I thought I'd re-post a great article from the Creative with Kids blog about 100 ways to be kind to your child. We could all use reminders on how much our words and actions can mean to our little ones.

Tell to your child:

1. I love you.

2. love you no matter what.

3. I love you even when you are angry at me.

4. I love you even when I am angry with you.

5. I love you when you are far way. My love for you can reach you wherever you are.

6. If I could pick any 4 year old (5 year old, 6 year old…) in the whole wide world, I’d pick you.

7. I love you to the moon and then around the stars and back again.

8. Thank you.

9. I enjoyed playing with you today.

10. My favorite part of the day was when I was with you and we _______.

Tell them:

11. The story of their birth or adoption.

12. About how you cuddled them when they were a baby.

13. The story of their name.

14. A story about yourself when you were their age.

15. The story of how their grandparents met.

16. What your favorite color is.

17. That sometimes you struggle too.

18. That when you’re holding hands and you give three squeezes, it’s a secret code that means, “I love you”.

19. What the plan is.

20. What you’re doing right now.


21. Freeze Tag

22. Uno

23. Crazy 8s

24. Gin Rummy

25. Memory

26. Go Fish

27. I Spy- especially when you’re tired of driving and feel snappish

28. Catch


29. To catch their kiss and put it on your cheek.

30. That their tickle tank is empty and you have to fill it.

31. That their high five is so powerful it nearly knocks you over.

32. That you are super ticklish.

33. That you are explorers in the amazing world of your own backyard.

34. That it’s party day!


35. To get enough sleep.

36. To drink enough water.

37. To eat decent food.

38. Dressing in a way that makes you feel confident and comfortable.

39. Calling a friend the next time you feel like you are about to lose it with the kids.

40. Giving a gentle touch to show approval, rather than saying something.

41. Dancing in the kitchen.

42. To get your kids to bop to the music with you in the car.

43. Showing your kids that you can do a somersault or handstand or a cartwheel.

44. Keeping the sigh to yourself. Just jump in and help clean up.

45. Using a kind voice, even if you have to fake it.


46. A book of silly poems.

47. A book and then act it out. (Like “I’m going on a Bear Hunt”)

48. Your favorite childhood book to them.

49. When the afternoon is starting to go astray.

50. Outside under a tree.

51. In the library kids corner.

52. The comic book they love that you’re not so hot on.

53. About age appropriate behavior so you can keep your expectations realistic.


54. To your child in the car.

55. To that Lego description, and think how important it is to your child.

56. For that question that indicates your child really needs your input.

57. One second longer than you think you have patience for.

58. For the feelings behind your child’s words.


59. Why do you think that happens?

60. What do you think would happen if______?

61. How shall we find out?

62. What are you thinking about?

63. What was your favorite part of the day?

64. What do you think this tastes like?


65. Your child how to do something instead of banning them from it.

66. How to whistle with a blade of grass.

67. How to shuffle cards- make a bridge if you can!

68. How to cut food.

69. How to fold laundry.

70. How to look up information when you don’t know the answer.

71. Affection to your spouse.

72. That taking care of yourself is important.

Take Time:

73. To watch construction sites.

74. To look at the birds.

75. To allow your child to help you dump ingredients in the bowl.

76. To walk places together.

77. To dig in the dirt together.

78. To do a task at your child’s pace.

79. To just sit with you child while they play.


80. That your child is capable.

81. That you are the right parent for your child.

82. That you are enough.

83. That you can do what is right for your family.

Delight your child:

84. Clean your child’s room as a surprise.

85. Put chocolate chips in the pancakes.

86. Put a love note in their lunch.

87. Make their snack into a smile face shape.

88. Make sounds effects while you help them do something.

89. Sit on the floor with them to play.

Let Go:

90. Of the guilt.

91. Of how you thought it was going to be.

92. Of your need to be right.


93. A kind look.

94. A smile when your child walks into the room.

95. A kind touch back when your child touches you.

96. The chance to connect before you correct so that your child can actually hear your words.

97. Your child a chance to work out their frustrations before helping them.

98. A bath when the day feels long.

99. A hug.

100. You get to choose the next one! What is your favorite way to be kind to your child?