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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

For Now and For Later

For your Christmas cravings . . .
My family calls my kitchen "Mama's Smoking Restaurant," because, well, I burn everything, from cheese toast to homemade hot chocolate. I just wasn't cut out for cooking gourmet meals. I stress about holiday entertaining.

I've dreamed of having the perfect kitchen and all the culinary skills to go with it; a kitchen in which my family and friends gather to talk and visit and take in the warmth and aromas while I prepare a sumptuous spread. And though I fall short of my vision, by the magic of the Internet, I can live vicariously through another woman who has it all - the kitchen and the talent. (I wonder if she has EVER even let her eyes gaze upon a box of Cheesy Mack, nevermind put it in her shopping cart and taken it home for that last-minute, just-in-case meal.)

Fortunately, writer and chef extrordinaire Karin Calloway, on her blog, shares her Viking kitchen, her ALL Viking appliances, perfect kitchen, and her sumptuous recipes for dishes I can't even pronounce but that make my stomach growl and my lips smack together just looking at the pictures. And she shares her chef secrets. She makes me believe that even I can overcome the casserole and defeat the frozen pizza.

For the New Year . . .
Parenting is hard work. I'm always second guessing myself and my motives and whether my children will turn out okay in the end. And despite all of my mistakes, I know that everything I do with and for my children is filled with the best of intentions. But every year, at the end of December, when I'm thinking about buying a new calendar, I resolve to be a better parent to my children.

This year, I've found a book to help me achieve my goal in 2010: Pressured Parents, Stressed Out Kids: Dealing with Competition while Raising Successful Kids by Wendy S. Grolnick, PhD. and Kathy Seal.

This book explains why we pressure our kids and how our competitive drive, when it comes to our children, which is manifested as pushing them too hard and controlling them too much, causes us to worry. Beyond simply explaining why we do the things we do, however, it provides helpful advice on how to overcome our anxiety and be the best parents we can for our kids. Learn how to transform worry and fear into positive parenting, aid your child in developing intrinsic motivation, maintain a strong relationship with your child while at the same time encouraging his or her autonomy, and to avoid the parent-child conflict we all dread.

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