Monday, October 15, 2018

Family Time

Holy Hannah it's been almost two months. School started and my blogging time has been replaced with running kids to practices, policing homework, laundry, keeping up with the contents of the fridge (or lack there of) and vacuuming dog hair.

I'm serious. 

Fall has officially taken over, with crisp air in the morning and the smell of fireplaces at night. Between football, field hockey and soccer I'm pretty much constantly on the go, but we fit in family time like it's our job.  

Well, as parents, it IS our job. So much time gets lost looking at screens, I often wonder if people realize that if they put their phone down, they would find something else to do. 

Kids as well. 

Have you ever looked up and everyone in the room is on a screen?  It's horrible.  We're right next to people and we're not connecting. It's easy to see the difference out in public, but in our own homes we're not connecting. Entire families can be home but everyone is on a device in a different room.  

I remember when "screen time"  was the television.  Everyone was worried about how much television their kid watched. Now kids are on screens all the time, with never-ending access to people and information. Family dinner is a lost art in many homes. I work in a school and I see first hand that kids today don't have the coping skills they had years ago.  They also don't have the self esteem. 

They need to know something?  Google it. They want to talk to a friend?  They "snap" them.  

Remember when you had to get on your bike if you wanted the neighborhood news?

Not anymore. 

We all need to make an effort to get our kids away from screens. Connect, make memories and teach them lessons about life and friendship.  Teach them how to bake, how to clean, how to bank and pay bills. 

Not only will they learn important life skills, they gain independence.  Which leads to confidence.  Which leads to a better sense of self and self esteem. 

Over the years I've made an effort to make family time the most important time in our house.  We get around the table for dinner and we take walks on nice afternoons. Am I on top of everything all the time? No way.  Not even close. I get frustrated and I feel like I can do better many days. 

I'm guilty of allowing more "screen time" than I care to admit. The upside is I'm aware and I'm doing better every day.  I see now that the worst thing I can give is more electronics, and the best thing I can give is my time. Kids want and need our time more than anything else we could ever give them. 

Wishing everyone more family time this week! 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

*A favorite recipe from the archives. *

Just over a year ago I made these dessert bars. There are only two words for them:

Oh Nellie.

These bars are ooey, gooey and divine. A universal homerun, even for Hubby. He is my most critical of dessert tasters, always needing to know what is inside before he tries something.

My answer to him?

Saturated fats. Now eat it already.

This is the perfect Labor Day weekend treat. Especially if you need dessert for a picnic. I prefer to bake these bars for special occasions because if they are in my kitchen I'll take one every time I pass by the plate. 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars
2 sticks salted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups quick oats
2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Blend butter, vanilla and eggs. Turn mixer to low, and blend in sugars.

In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and baking powder. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture. Stir in oats and chocolate chips until well combined.
Spread in greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake 25-30 minutes. For the ultimate gooey experience, remove from oven just before center is completely done. Let cool.
Makes 24 bars. Eat them. Share if you must.

I hear these are delectable with milk, I prefer with Diet Coke.

Happy holiday weekend!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Fast Forward

Remember VHS tapes? How it looked on the screen when you hit fast forward while tape was playing?

It was a blur of the movie.  It was clear what was happening as the tape sped through the film, but almost every scene could be deciphered if you had fast forward on only one or two arrows.

That's how it feels when you look back on raising kids.  

You can see every moment, but they are all jumbled together and all of a sudden you hit stop and there you are today.  It goes that fast. I look back on my oldest playing trains, my middle two giggling and watching the same movies over and over and my baby waiting at just about every event we dragged her to because the older kids had practice.  Or a game. Or anything. 

I remember not being able to leave the house without buckling kids and snacks in my purse.  Heck I remember that diaper bag. I remember realizing by child #3 diaper bags are just a glorified purse and I was just as good to toss a diaper, wipes and a bottle in my current bag. 

That was the day I became a minimalist. 

When your kids are young, you hear so many parents tell you how fast it goes. Now I know why. My kids aren't even grown up, but I can go to the store whenever I please and I don't have carseats in my van.

It's miraculous when you regain that freedom, but it comes at a price. You do miss those sticky faces and diaper bums. I miss buying toys. I'm blessed to have incredible kids and they still go with me to the store and hang with mom every now and again.

It may cost me a frappe or a pit stop at a drive thru but the company is worth 100 stops.

My house is still a mess, and although every few days I have a mini meltdown about shoes by the door and cups on counters, I know I'll miss that too.  

I'm learning to embrace the mess just like I embraced the chaos a long time ago. We're all a work in progress.

Happy Thursday.  Kiss those sticky faces...even if they're fifteen.