Tag Archives: parenting

Shopping with the Stars

Shopping for glasses for my husband was a star-studded event. 

We met Drew Carey.


Whose line is it anyway?

Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Hasta la vista, baby.

Elton John.


She packed my bags last night pre-flight.

And John Belushi.


I’m a soul man.

Much of the joy in life is about who’s traveling with you.


Have your people call my people.

If the frame fits…

A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face; a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day.
Proverbs 15:13 The Message

Take your Vitamin C and Smile.

Who travels with you in life? What or who do you have to smile about today?




Filed under family & friends, humor, life

BlogHer Syndicates Post

Thank you to BlogHer for running a post and photo that are close to my heart!

yankee doodle

Click to go to the BlogHer post!

You Can Watch Election Coverage With Kids

Please trot by BlogHer to read, share, and comment. Tell ’em Aimee sent you.

Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. 1 Chronicles 16:10b

Hippy Chick by Soho because it sounds good today.

No Hippy Chick?

Comments Off on BlogHer Syndicates Post

Filed under America, blogging, humor

What I Did All Day

Kim Drew Wright

Kim Drew Wright

Welcome wickedly witty guest blogger, my sorority sister Kim Drew Wright. Today Kim shares a glimpse of the Real Wives of Richmond, Virginia.

He opens the door, takes off his jacket and gives me that look. The one that says, “Why is the house still a mess? Why isn’t dinner ready?”

Instead he says, “What have you done all day?”

I’ve: gotten the kids out of bed, scrambled eggs and poured milk, let the dogs out, made pb&j sandwiches to put in plastic, let the kids help even though it would have been quicker if I did it myself, reminded them to brush their teeth, cleared the breakfast dishes, been saddened by the morning news, braided hair, mediated an argument, picked out clothes, nagged that they are going to miss the bus, yelled to go brush their teeth, tied shoes, found jackets, walked to the bus stop, told them to have a good day, hauled dirty laundry downstairs, unloaded the dishwasher, wiped down the table, loaded the dishwasher, scrubbed stains from shirts, thought about calling my mother before it’s too late, let the dogs in, put laundry in the washer, sent an email about a PTA fundraiser, counseled a friend having marital issues, volunteered at the school library shelving books in order, put the clothes in the dryer before they mildewed, wiped pee off the bathroom floor, forgot to eat lunch, tripped over an abandoned babydoll, tried to remember a conversation from 1982, cleaned up dog puke, ran to the store for miscellaneous items you needed, joked with the cashier to make her day easier, ran into a friend who wanted to do lunch sometime—I think she’s having marital problems, put my tennis shoes on and ran around the neighborhood because according to you a woman my age has to exercise an hour a day just to stay the same weight, gave the dogs a treat, folded laundry and carried it upstairs, took a shower, shoved my skinny jeans aside, answered 11 emails about the fundraiser, considered getting a job with a paycheck, petted the dogs so they would know they are loved, walked to the bus stop, gave our children hugs, gave them a snack, reminded them to wash their hands first, shuffled through school papers, encouraged them to learn from their mistakes, signed up to bring in cookies for a class party as soon as I got the note so the teacher would know I appreciated her, sorted through the mail, swept under the table, screened calls from telemarketers, picked up socks, shoes, jackets and backpacks forgotten in the foyer, listened to our children, reminded them to do their homework, updated Facebook with something cute our children said so I would never forget, yelled for them to turn off the TV, was ignored, took the trash out and, just now, sat down with that book I’ve been wanting to read for 3 months.

“Nothing important,” I say and get up to start dinner.

She carefully watches everything in her household
and suffers nothing from laziness. Proverbs 31:27 NLT

Presenting Steven Tyler and his little band Aerosmith with Crazy… because that’s how we feel on days when we do nothing important.

Steven, Tyler

Crazy Steven & Tyler

What did you do all day?

Kim Drew Wright is a freelance writer, devoted wife, and frazzled mother of three. Most notably, she has excellent taste in dogs.




Filed under family & friends, humor, women's studies, writing & reading

Pumpkin Patch Peril

Last week my son had a day off school, so we trekked 25 miles to meet some of his school mates at Walter’s Pumpkin Patch.

pumpkin arrangement

pumpkin arrangement

This is the first fall in my son’s life we won’t be pumpkin and apple picking at America’s largest, family-owned, pick-your-own orchard, Eckert’s in Belleville, Illinois. We’re mourning the loss of Pumpkin Jamboree weekends and phenomenal fried chicken. But this year Eckert’s is 458.78 miles away.

Yes, I MapQuested it.

corn maze exit

maze exit

Walter’s isn’t the same as Eckert’s, but it’s still a blast. We were there on a weekday, so we had the place to ourselves including paddle boats, underground slides, an in-ground trampoline, corn maze, people-sized hamster wheel, giant seesaw, tree houses, and of course pumpkin picking.

Now my son has never struggled with separation anxiety. From the moment I dropped him off at nursery school, he’s not been one to look back. There are places to go, things to do, people to see. Mom? Mom who?

Walter’s was no different. He jumped head first into the activities, oblivious to my whereabouts. After lunch, he took off with his friends on their next adventure, leaving me in the dust.

I walked over to the country store to to chat up the owner. Turns out she knows the Eckert’s people. We discussed the finer points of Walter’s transformation into a destination farm.

As I strolled out of the store, I saw a small, lonely figure standing a block away from me on the driveway. Was that my child? Was he crying?

“What’s the matter?” I said as I got to him and held him. “Are you okay?”

“I couldn’t find you,” he said. “I thought you left me at the pumpkin patch!”

“Oh, no,” I said, “Mommy will never leave you.”

It was a promise I couldn’t keep, and I knew it the second the words came out.

“Mommy will never leave you at the pumpkin patch,” I said as if that clarification somehow helped.

Life is full of changes and loss. There will come a day when I will leave him—not by choice, never by choice. Death comes at the most inconvenient times.

Or he may leave me first. I pray not by death, but by growing up. His father and I are raising him with the goal that one day he’ll be independent of us. However, I can’t promise I won’t follow him if he moves away. Don’t you want me to be your daughter’s mother-in-law now?

We dried the tears and talked about how we both needed to tell each other where we were going to be, especially in strange, new places.

The school counselor’s words often haunt me, sloshing big buckets of guilt: “Moving is one of the top five most traumatic experiences for a child.”

Oh, Lord, what have we done.

“I miss Eckert’s,” said my son. So do I, baby. So do I.

pumpkin arrangement

pumpkins on porch

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

Brand new from an album due to release in January 2013, please listen to Need You Now by Plumb.

How do you deal with loss? How do you help your children deal with it?



Filed under faith, family & friends

Parenting Through the Election

Syndicated on BlogHer.com

A version of this post was syndicated by BlogHer on October 9, 2012.

Engaging your children in the electoral process can be filled with teachable moments.

yankee doodle

yankee doodle

This week I let my son stay up and watch some of the Republican National Convention speeches with me. To balance things out, we’ll watch some of the Democratic National Convention speeches next week.

We tried watching on the networks and PBS, but my son quickly tired of the commentators.

“Who is that and why do they keep talking?” he said. Good question.

Are we not able to discern the themes and validity of the speeches for ourselves?

We clicked over to C-SPAN where the coverage ran uninterrupted except for a ticker line of tweets across the bottom of the screen. A much better fit for us. We got to see all of the speeches and videos of the convention, not just the parts the media decided we should see. And without the commentary.

Media literacy is practiced in our house. 

We don’t sit there and take whatever the media gives us; we talk back to the TV, radio, and internet. We control the feed. We turn it off if these “guests” overstep their bounds.

Admittedly, my house leans conservative though I remain independent of party affiliation. I lost count of how many times during the course of the speeches by Chris Christie, Condoleezza Rice, Clint Eastwood, and Mitt Romney my child heard me speak to the screen.


“Bless your heart.”

“God bless you.”

“That’s right.”

Next week, he’ll hear me speak, too.

I anticipate a lot of questioning and disagreeing. But I’ll take care to be measured in my responses. To explain to my son as best I can why some citizens see things differently than his parents do and to reiterate our beliefs. To stress to him how imperative it is we respect all our countrymen and the office of the President, even if we disagree.

Children think in all-or-nothing terms sometimes.

I corrected my son quickly when last night he said, “I hate Obama.”

“No,” I said. “We don’t hate Obama; we just disagree with him. And we respect him as a person and as the President.”

“But I hope Mitt Romney wins, Mom,” he said.

At the end of this process, someone will win, and someone will lose. And there will be more lessons to be taught. How to win and lose gracefully. How to stick with your values and beliefs regardless of the outcome.

The presidential election offers a chance for us to explain to our children what we believe and why. We get to show them the ropes of how we choose our elected officials. We have the chance to demonstrate to them wisdom and discernment. We’re responsible for developing their citizenship.

It’s up to us to plant the seeds of engagement that will influence the future of our country and culture long after we’re gone.

And so, my children, listen to me,
for all who follow my ways are joyful.
Listen to my instruction and be wise.
Don’t ignore it. Proverbs 32-33 NLT

Teach Your Children by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

Do you engage your children in the election? How?



Filed under America, family & friends

Where’s the Beef? New 2012 School Menus are Lean on Meat

Syndicated on BlogHer.com

This post was syndicated by BlogHer on October 12, 2012.

where's the beef

where’s the beef


As the school year begins, public school menus across America have been adjusted to align with new federal standards from the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.

President and Mrs. Obama advocated for the passage of this act. It’s federal policy. To be reimbursed by the National School Lunch Program, schools must adhere to these rules.

The new federal standards are designed to promote healthier eating and reduce childhood obesity with choices based on food components rather than nutrients.

Translation: lots of fruits and veggies, not so much meat.

My friend Katie blogged about the new federal standards and why they don’t work for her family. Other women began blogging about the standards, too. They started a Facebook page called Sensible School Lunches to dialogue.

I pay taxes that support public schools and these programs. So do you. We pay regardless of whether or not we have children enrolled. The well-being of the children in a community is important to the community as a whole.

That makes us all stakeholders in this.

The new federal standards recommend children in kindergarten through fifth grade receive more than six cups of fruits and vegetables for lunch per week, but only eight to 10 ounces of meat or meat alternative for lunch per week.

You read that right. Per week.

That’s roughly two ounces of meat per lunch.

Two ounces of meat per lunch didn’t sound like much to me, but I wasn’t really sure. My son and I headed to our local market to find out.

Two ounces (.125 pounds) of raw ground beef is about one meatball. Enough for a small hamburger or a portion of spaghetti sauce. Not bad.

2 ounce meatball on scale

2 ounce meatball on scale

Consider the chicken leg. It’s overweight at .31 pounds (4.96 ounces).

chicken leg on scale

chicken leg weighs more than 2 ounces

Two slices of bacon is fine, but a two-slice limit wouldn’t go well at my house.

2 ounces of bacon

2 ounces = 2 slices of bacon

At another store, we determined one hotdog would pass.

ballpark beef franks

ballpark beef franks, 1 hotdog = 2 ounces

So would a package of lunch meat like this.

oscar meyer chicken

2 ounces of oscar mayer chicken

My son enjoyed our investigative reporting. But as I snapped photos of Oscar Mayer, I wondered what the menu changes meant in real life.

I consulted the USDA’s sample menus.

Will children really eat 1/4 cup of jicama and 1/4 of pepper strips as suggested for the Monday menu, assuming they know what jicama is? How about Tuesday’s suggested 1/2 cup of broccoli and 1/2 cup of cauliflower?

Who are these kids? We try at our dinner table. We really do, but it’s a win if the child ingests more than one green bean.

please do not climb on cow

please do not climb on cow

By the time Friday rolls around, the weekly allowance of meat on the sample menu has been depleted. Cheese pizza is the suggested fare. Why not front-load the week with this deficit and participate in Meatless Mondays?

I jest, but there are American ranchers who are not amused.

The new federal standards also prohibit whole milk or flavored milk, a fact highlighted in Joslyn Gray’s post Seriously? 15 Things Schools Have Banned So Far in 2012. By 2014, the only grains allowed will be whole grains.

Let’s say a child eats his veggie-rich lunch of jicama and peppers with two ounces of turkey and one cup of fat-free milk, but is still not hunger-free. How will that child perform in class?

What if that child’s only meal for the entire day is school lunch?

Sadly, this is the case for many students. The 2010 Hunger in Our Schools study concluded hunger remains a problem in the classroom with a large proportion of students relying on school meals. It’s the main reason some kids come to school.

cow statue at airport in vermont

cow statue at airport in vermont

The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act updates public school menus for the first time in 15 years. It’s a commendable start.

The emphasis on fruits, veggies, whole grains, and low-fat milk is terrific. Still there are questions that need to be addressed for these standards to succeed in real life.

Giving local schools more say in what works best in their communities with their students makes the most sense.

Local schools are also better equipped than the federal government to network with area farmers and ranchers to supply foods, another goal of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.

There’s work to be done. Please contact your elected officials. Visit Sensible School Lunches to learn more and to dialogue. Bloggers, consider writing your story about this topic and sharing it there.

He always does what He says—
He defends the wronged,
He feeds the hungry. Psalm 146:7 The Message

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for. A link to the Wendy’s commercial that inspired this post’s title: Where’s the Beef?

What’s your take on the new menus?


Filed under family & friends, food & farm

Field Trip to Visit an Inspiring Friend

It’s that time again for a field trip on the blog. Our itinerary takes us to Pinke Post for a special story from my friend Katie.

Pinke Post

Pinke Post

I roomed with Katie, Leah Beyer, and Nancy Grossi at the BlogHer conference earlier this month. Katie, a discus thrower in college, vowed to be my tall, blonde bodyguard should the need arise in New York. Thankfully, I didn’t have to take her up on that offer, and we went shopping instead.

Katie has blogged at Pinke Post for five years. She is the mother to three beautiful children and the wife to her prince charming. In her professional life, she works in agriculture for state government.

Today she breaks her silence about her time as a food stamps mom.

Katie Pinke in Tahari

Katie Pinke in Tahari

It’s an inspiring story from a beautiful woman with great determination, incredible work ethic, and the blessings of family and faith—the stuff of real hope and change.

Plus she can rock a Tahari dress like nobody’s business. Please give it up for Katie Pinke and her true story Food Stamps Mom Breaks Her Silence

She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks. Proverbs 31:17 NIV

Don’t Give Up, snappy new tune from Kevin Rudolf.

Click, read, and meet my friend Katie Pinke.


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Filed under America, family & friends, women's studies