October 30, 2014

Multiracial Round-up: Great Reads On Race & Family {Oct. 2014}

I have been really looking forward to putting together this month's round-up - there have just been so many great posts over the past few weeks that I cannot wait to share! And, sometimes I don't - I usually can't resist sharing on Facebook as I find posts and articles that strike a chord with me in some way or another. Still here they are, all in one place, just for you!

October 29, 2014

Thoughts on the Value of School Diversity

This time last year, we were getting ready to move everything we owned (and, oh man, that stuff adds up over a decade!) into a temporary rental home. We had bought our house when Zip was still an infant - before I had a child in school and was starting to think about school and community diversity in a meaningful, tangible way, before I started to grasp just how important those things would be for our family.

We knew we didn’t want our boys to attend an enormous school district where sports were so competitive that they would need to be NFL-bound to make the team. We also didn’t want them to attend school in a rural farming community that bussed kids from miles around. Anything between those two extremes seemed perfectly fine. When we were house-hunting back in '07, we spent only a few minutes considering school diversity, assuming anything in our suburban area would be fine. A few years later, we looked around the gymnasium full of parents at kindergarten orientation and realized that my husband was the only brown person in the room. We also realized that having our boys grow up in a predominantly white school district wasn’t what we wanted for them.

As we started sharing our plans to move to a more diverse district, I ran into a lot of skepticism from others in our small city, both about the quality of the education our boys would receive (a concern based on misconceptions about our local schools) and the importance of school diversity itself.  “My high school was mostly white and the black kids got along just fine,” was a common sentiment. It is a na├»ve point of view, but one I understood because I had once thought exactly the same thing.

October 15, 2014

Treat Yourself: An AMAZING Giveaway {$200 Zappos Giftcard}

I bet that title got your attention, didn't it? This is one awesome giveaway and who doesn't love Zappos?! BonBon Break is sponsoring this puppy and, while BonBon Break doesn't deliver shoes to your doorstop, it's pretty super too. 

October 14, 2014

4 Tips for Teaching Kids They Can Do Hard Things

Last week I took the boys rollerskating as part of a "healthy family" initiative going on at Zip's school. I hadn't been rollerskating in years and when I showed my husband pictures later, he assured me that the rink hadn't changed at all since he was a kid, right down to the same shag-carpeted benches. It was all very retro.

Zip insisted on rollerblades (that part was a little less retro). I helped him strap them on and, although he had never been on skates before in his life, he stood, confidently proclaimed, "This isn't so hard!" and wobbled his way over to the rink.

I was pretty sure Bee wasn't ready for rollerblades and mistakenly - mistakenly, people! - thought rollerskates would be much easier. Four wheels, how hard can that be? The answer: Very.

We slowly made our way to the rink and, with one hand in mine and another against the wall, Bee began working his way around the rink. It was painful. He swooned and swerved and jerked. He fell and I helped him up. He fell again. I tried holding him under the armpits to guide him, but I had a pair of skates on myself and was having a hard time keeping myself upright, much less myself and a 45-pound prechooler. I glanced up and saw just how far we still had to go, if we had any hope of getting off this rink. I looked down and saw Bee's face, nervous and concerned.

"This is hard, isn't it, Bee?"

October 9, 2014

Good Family Meals Made Easy & One Of Our Slow Cooker Favorites

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Red Cabbage-Cilantro Slaw
I love to cook.

Or maybe I just love to eat.

Nah, I think I love both.

Back when my husband and I first started living together, "cooking" usually meant some kind of skillet meal from the freezer section of the grocery store and the weekends were for eating out. But eventually I got tired of eating the same few meals all the time and when the kids came along I found the motivation I needed to change our habits. It is really important to us that we sit down together as a family each night and that the food on the table is (relatively) healthy.

The challenge is actually finding the time to cook for our family! Home-cooked meals require more planning than grabbing something from the freezer section, that's for sure, and usually take more effort to put together, although not always.

In recent years I've finally developed a system that works for us and it is pretty simple: