The “What’s for Breakfast?” Series, Number 1

A friend and I were exchanging notes the other day about how to change up breakfast for our families. We’d both banned cereal from the house; cost was a big factor, amplified by how quickly it disappeared. Not only was it for breakfast, but I’d hear the tell-tale sound of cereal hitting the bowl after school or (and?) at 9 p.m.

I thought of our conversaion when I tried a recipe for “Grab ‘n Go” frittatas. I adapted’s Megan Gordon’s recipe, which used kale and goat cheese. One of the great things about a frittata is that it’s an easy way to use up greens and lettuces as they start to wilt.  And you can change the cheese to anything that is likely to melt.  (I ran across Gordon’s recipe in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Wednesday Food section, 2/19/14)

Grab ‘n Go Frittatas

8 or so ounces salad mix of baby lettuces, sliced carrots, and  cherry tomatoes

3 to 4 tablespoons butter

12 large eggs

salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

1 cup medium-sized croutons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt most of butter in non-stick skillet, saving the rest for greasing the muffin tins. Toss in the salad mix and sauté until wilted.  Set aside from heat.

In a medium to large bowl, beat the eggs and add salt and pepper.  Add sauté mixture and croutons.

Grease two six cup muffin tins with remaining butter. Divide egg mixture  evenly among the muffin tins.  Put the cheese on top of each frittata.

Bake until the center is firm, about 25-30 minutes.  Best served warm or room temperature, but can be refrigerated up to week and reheated in the microwave.


Today’s WI Recall and “Yesterday’s” Civil Rights Movement

Last week, my son and his classmate interviewed Howard Fuller about his involvement in the Durham civil rights struggle.  On the way to the interview, they ran through their questions with me.  I was struck by their focus on the violence in the struggle.  And I suppose that’s not surprising: their attraction to history is driven, at least in part, by an interest in battles, formal and informal.  Despite our best efforts, fourteen year old boys are fascinated by blood and guts, guns and swords.

I wonder if they can see beyond the violence to the struggle and see that it extends to today? Can they see that voter intimidation still exists?  That there doesn’t need to be dogs, fire hoses, and literacy tests to dampen the participation of targeted voters?

I know I see it.  And Fuller sees it.  Here are his Twitter updates while in line this a.m. to vote:

Howard Fuller@HowardLFuller

Standing in a looooong line to vote at in Milw. Thx to the struggles that came before. No one ask me to recite the preamble to the Const

Howard Fuller@HowardLFuller

huge price was paid to enable Blk people to vote. efforts to limit that right must be resisted.But the first thing we have to do is GO vote

Howard Fuller@HowardLFuller

Glad to be in a long line because it means people in my neighborhood ain’t sleeping. They are VOTING!!

Today is John’s last exam, but the teaching and learning won’t stop just because school is over.  I expect we’ll have on-going discussions over the summer about the recall and the campaigning for the upcoming November election.  There’s still time to help him see that the struggle continues.





Define “superior” parent please

Amy Chua at the 2007 Texas Book Festival, Aust...
Image via Wikipedia

Say what you want about Amy Chua (and people are saying plenty):  she knows how to market her book.  From a lengthy article in the Wall Street Journal to an interview on NPR, from Slate to my Facebook status, people are talking about “Chinese” and “Western” parenting.

Oh, she assures,

I’m using the term “Chinese mother” loosely. I know some Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish and Ghanaian parents who qualify too. Conversely, I know some mothers of Chinese heritage, almost always born in the West, who are not Chinese mothers, by choice or otherwise. I’m also using the term “Western parents” loosely. Western parents come in all varieties. (WSJ, “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior.”  January 8, 2011)

Like the editor at the WSJ would say, “Wow.  Look.  Here’s an essay about Jamiacan parenting.  We’ll call it “Jamaican Parents are Superior.”  Puh-lease.

About the time all of the media was making this Yale law professor their darling, Bruce Reyes-Chow, a Presbyterian pastor in San Francisco, was posting this:  “Teaching children to embrace the joy of mediocrity.”

It doesn’t look like he intended it as a response to Chua.  And since Chua brought up the “Chinese” distinction (not literally, of course, but actually, yes, literally), I should note that Reyes-Chow’s heritage and culture is only part Chinese.  He is also Filipino. (In his “snarky” bio, he describes himself as Filipino/Chinese American.  And a whole bunch of other things not related to his ethnic heritage.)

Distracted enough from the point yet?

The book is supposed to be about parenting styles and how this one (uncompromising and disciplined) is superior.

So is it superior?  As FB friend Carol C. said, “What’s your goal?”  An important question to answer if you’re going to read this book or participate in any discussion about your “parenting” relationship with your children.

I’ll withhold judgment until I get a look at the book and can get past the attention grabbing headlines and soundbites.  I suspect there’s some truth in it for our family, just as there’s truth and guidance in Reyes-Chow’s post about celebrating mediocrity.

Meanwhile, time to supervise violin practice.

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Football + Boys = Life Lessons

Football coach to a player: “Keep working to lead by your actions. Take every opportunity to show someone how to do things the right way. Leadership takes a strong belief in yourself, taking a risk by extending yourself and let your game do the talking.”

Our boys’ football seasons are about to wrap up so I’m in a bit of a reflective mood.  One of those boys will be wrapping up his high school season this week.  So I’m sentimental, too.

Here are some thoughts from some of his teammates on what they learned playing football:

Never give up when faced with adversity.

You can achieve anything if you work hard enough for it.

Success is never final, failure never fatal.  It’s courage that counts.

The meaning of team.

It’s all about heart.

What you put in it what you get out.

It looks like they each learned some important life lessons.

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Think before you fill out that next youth sports registration form

We are just coming to the end of another season of youth sports in our home. Two of our kids tried new sports this season: track and field for the junior, who wanted to work on his strength and conditioning for football, and lacrosse for our 7th grader, who wanted to join the wave of young people trying this growing sport. Our 5th grader did a stint with a spring hockey team as well as joined the middle school track team (consider it additional speed and conditioning to complement the once/week practices for the spring hockey).

I’m guessing there’s some eye-rolling  from readers about “crazy youth sports parents.” And we might deserve it.

We’re not alone. Mark Hyman, a sports journalist and parent, was prompted to explore the youth sports complex based on his own crazy parenting. He discusses it in his new book, “Until It Hurts: America’s Obsession with Youth Sports and How It Harms Our Kids.”

Jane Brody’s column in today’s NYT covers the book.  While injuries are part of the problem, what caught my eye was this:  “with each passing season youth sports seem to stray further and further from its core mission of providing healthy, safe and character-building recreation for children.”

I hope you’ll join me, as we move from one sports season to the next, in using Hyman’s standard to determine whether or not it’s the right choice for your child.  Ask yourself:  Are my kids involved in healthy, safe, and character-building recreation?

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Uncle Jay wants you to say “please and thank you”

Today’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has a nice human interest story about three families at USM who have a daughter AND a son playing in this weekend’s state hockey tournament.

Talk about family-based education.

However, my experience is you don’t have to be related to be treated like a member of the family.

I call it co-parenting–please, anyone who can come up with a less “social-science-y” name for it, I’m all ears–and it’s one of those features in a community that I’d argue makes for a great place for kids.

Here’s an example involving one of the dad’s in today’s Journal Sentinel story.

Jay Wigdale and I were talking between periods at a hockey game.  My middle guy had hockey practice after the varsity game and was panicking because his gear was in the car.  “Mom, c’mon!” he urged.  I sneered at him–the look that should say, “I’m talking to another adult here.  Give me a minute.”  But he was fixated on getting that bag, torn between waiting politely and being on time for the team meeting before practice.

After interruption number three or four, Jay said, “Hey, how about ‘Please Mom?'”  That broke the spell and a few minutes later, Son #2 and I were on our way.

Maybe it’s that Jay and I have stood at football, baseball, and hockey games together for the last couple of years watching our sons play.  Maybe it’s because Jay’s wife and I serve on the school’s Booster Club board together.  Maybe it’s because, by my count, Jay has 13 nieces and nephews living nearby, or that about half of those nieces and nephews have played hockey with my own kids.  But Jay felt perfectly comfortable scolding my son.  And I was completely thankful he did.

To the best of my knowledge, I am not related to anyone at University School, save my own children.  Still, there are plenty of days that we feel we are part of a family.

Support the USM Alumni Association

I love fundraisers that are about the money on the table.  You know, the kind that capture profits from things you’d spend money on anyway.

Turns out, the University School Milwaukee Alumni Association gets a piece of your magazine or newspaper subscription if you order through this site.  So, I’m off to order some magazines!

Nawabdin the Electrician?

I’m reading a collection of short stories for a Facebook Book Group called In Other Rooms, Other Wonder by Daniyal Mueenuddin.

The first short story is Nawabdin the Electrician and is set in Mundal, a rural community in Punjab, Pakistan.

Might this be what he looked like when planning how to ask his patron Harouni about getting a motorcycle?

Tim the Tool Man moving sale–and furniture too!

Man using a chainsaw with all recommended safe...
Image via Wikipedia

From Laura W.–

Friends from the USM family are getting ready to move to their new place. They are having a moving sale this Saturday, August 1st from 9am – 4pm at 2602 E. Newberry Blvd. They have a lot of great items: furniture, household items, sporting equipment, patio furniture, clothing, power tools, etc. including:

Homelite 24″ Gas Chain Saw (w/ extra chain)
Craftsman Scroll Saw
Black and Decker Finishing Sander
WorkForce 7″ Wet Tile Saw (never opened)
Makita Router 24K-RPM
6.5 HP Craftsman Chipper/Shredder
4 HP Craftsman Edger
Ariens Snow Blower ST524
Large Ladder
Large Wheel Barrow

If you know of anyone who would be interested in any of these items, please pass this information along to them.

Thank you!

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Try chocolate peanut butter cookies

Photo of Peanut Butter Cookie Balls
Image by foodistablog via Flickr

Our daughter has decided this summer that she likes to “experiment.” So she’s decided that making up her own cookie recipes is a great way to explore science!

Last week she and I, with inspiration from a church cookbook from Rockdale Lutheran Church near Madison, made chocolate peanut butter cookies.  Here’s the recipe:

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 cup butter

2 eggs

1 t. vanilla

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted

1/2 cup peanut butter

3 cups flour

1 t baking soda

1 t salt

Cream butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs.  Add vanilla. Mix in melted chocolate.  Add peanut butter and mix.  Add flour, one cup at a time, and salt and baking soda.  Drop cookies on greased cookie sheet and bake for 13-14 minutes.

Tonight, we added chocolate frosting.  We used 1/4 cup butter, melted.  1 T cocoa power.  About 2 cups powered sugar.  1-2 t milk.

They are pretty and you only need one!

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