January 31, 2009

Breakfast for Dinner

Yesterday was the seventh anniversary of one of the three most amazing days of my life: the day my daughter was born.

My diva is a beautiful, bossy little thing ... admittedly, she is a lot like her mommy. At least in the bossy part. She is creative and clever, stubborn to a fault, and determined in all things to get her own way. She's pretty good at it, too.

We celebrate birthdays in our house with a meal planned, start-to-finish, by the birthdayee, and executed with much love by mom. I think I actually started this tradition in an effort to get my kids to like what I cook. It is painful to a woman like me, for whom food is both comfort and inspiration, that my children do not enjoy the real thing. They prefer nuggets out of a box, macaroni and cheese out of a box, waffles out of a box ... if it comes out of a box, it must be good.

Sometimes this serves me well - it's certainly a lot faster. But when I do go to the trouble to cook real food, it is just a little heartbreaking to be met with screaming tantrums from my lovable Aspie, a "this is disGUSting" all dripping with pre-teen attitude from my 7-year-old, or a determined "I don't wike this!" from my little guy.

So three times a year, I cook - real food no less - and it's something I'm absolutely certain at least one of them will like.

My diva's palette has expanded a lot this year. She's added several meats, a few more sides, and several vegetables - including broccoli! - to her repertoire. But she's had the same meal for her birthday dinner for three straight years now. You see, my diva's favorite dinner isn't dinner at all - it is breakfast.

So we had a dinner last night full of morning comfort and chocolatey goodness. Pancakes chock full of pink & white Valentine's M&Ms, bacon, scrambled eggs, and a lovely salad of blueberries and strawberries - really good when drizzled with a little bit of maple syrup - with bananas on the side for those who cared to have one. Heaven on a plate! My girl ate five - yes, you read that right - five pancakes, and a little bit of everything else. We stuck a candle in the first one and sang "Happy Birthday," thanks to my oldest, who realized that M&M pancakes are not only dinner but dessert as well. Even my little guy ate, though he did take a header into the syrup when he tried to dive across the table for more pancakes. My oldest, who doesn't like pancakes, eggs or strawberries, satisfied himself with a half-pound of bacon and a banana. So, something for everyone!

I love birthdays :-)

What's on my plate: Today, I must be feeling pretty red. Salad made with a pretty red baby romaine, roasted red peppers, flavorful Santa Sweets grape tomatoes, beets, tuna (which counts - it's pinkish) ... and some pepitas, green and full of iron, with a balsamic vinaigrette sprinkled over the top. Basically, everything I had in the house that seemed salad appropriate.

January 23, 2009

Getting Started

Ages ago I fancied myself a writer in training. I'd produce short stories - never anything much longer - with some regularity and a little bit of pride. Life intervened. Kids, job, more kids, more jobs. I stopped writing.

The thought has occurred to me that I am therefore not a writer.

This thought occurred during the recent presidential election, when I watched Katie Couric's interview with Sarah Palin. Scary lady for a lifelong liberal like myself. But impressive all the same. Smart, passionate, committed ... and remarkably poorly informed about anything outside the borders of her state. To me, this means she is not qualified to be president. Because the person who will be president should care so much about the country and the world that too much information is never enough. She should be reading about it constantly, unable to keep from the news, from history, from the workings of it all. Becoming President is the cap to a life where you can't help but seek out the things you need to do that job. The knowledge you need, that is not something you can build in a few months. It's a calling far more than it is an avocation. Ms. Palin didn't have that calling, and regardless of her politics, I think this is why she is not qualified to be this nation's president.

This is true also of writers. Real writers, they never stop writing. They seek out opportunities to write. Even with kids, jobs, the pressure of life in general, they make the time.

I've never been able to do that. I've kept journals for a few weeks, but then trailed off as things I deemed more important take my time.

What do I make time for? My kids, first and always. Cooking. Spending time in grocery stores, just browsing. Decorating cakes. And after that, knitting, crocheting, needlepoint. Even reading, another passion, often takes a back seat to these "callings." These are the things that make my life livable.

I've been reading more blogs, and the ones that work are written from the heart. The writer has a calling, even if that calling is not first to write. If I want to write - and I admit that I do - then I need to tie it to one of my callings. Because writing for the sake of writing, that is not enough for me.

So I'm going to try my hand at a blog ... and create one that is about the things I love. Children, food, the arts that turn the average mom into a domestic diva. Let's see if it works! If it does, maybe I'll expand my audience beyond the three friends I allow to see this ...