January 30, 2015

"I'm The Only Brown One" {Parenting Mixed Race Kids}

He pulls his basketball photos from the plastic sleeve they came home in, laying them on the counter in front of him. He inspects the team photo – eight 5- and 6-year olds flanked by their two coaches.

“I’m the darkest one on my team. I’m the only one with brown skin,” my little guy announces.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it is like for my youngest as he has started seeing his brownness. I mean, of course he has always been brown, has always known he is brown. But in the past year I’ve watched as he has started to see his color relative to the world around him, which is a different thing entirely.

It isn’t something I really expected yet.

It isn’t something I’ve read about (or written about). And I’m not quite sure how to put it into words, but I wanted to try so I’ll just give it my best shot.  (A long-winded shot. Bear with me.)

January 26, 2015

Conquering Preschoolers' Fear of the Dark & Monsters {Video}

After overcoming his toddler phobia of anything in a costume (e.g., the Easter bunny, Red Robin, the mascot at the high school football game), my littlest guy moved on to typical preschooler fears: the dark and monsters. When he wanted something from his bedroom, he'd insist I go upstairs with him, even in the middle of the day. When we talked more about why he didn't want to go alone, he admitted he was afraid there might be a monsters lurking upstairs.

I felt for the kid - these fears are so normal and real when you are four - but at times it was also really inconvenient to have to escort him around the house. I needed a way to empower him to manage his fear, and telling him monsters aren't real didn't cut it.

Then I came up with a solution that has worked out really well.

January 21, 2015

Ordinary Dreams Are Big Enough For Me

I’m driving to Maryland with my sister over the holiday and she’s controlling the radio, picking episodes of her favorite podcasts for us to listen to. At the moment it's The Moth – people are telling stories, most ending with some take-away or lesson, and this particular story’s moral is “Have a big dream.”

I think about that. A Big Dream. It feels like I’ve heard this so many times in the past couple of years – the importance of dreaming big. Know what your end game is. Think big. Plan how to get there. Maybe this mantra is embedded in our culture, part of the American Dream. Or maybe it is just a message that makes my ears prick up.

So what is my Big Dream? I think and I think, this Sunday afternoon in the car, but all that I can think of is my two boys back at home. Being mom to those two boys, that is my dream.

It’s simple. It’s small. Not small as in “unimportant.” Small as in everyday. Ordinary. On the surface, there is nothing Big about this dream.

I wonder, Why must dreams be Big to matter? Don’t Everyday Dreams merit attention too? Do we cheat ourselves by not realizing that?

January 18, 2015

MLK Day 2015: 3 Strategies for Raising Racially Sensitive Kids {Video}

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, I decided my next video tip would tackle the topic of raising racially sensitive kid. I knew I could only scratch the surface in a short video - which I had to edit a lot to keep under 5 minutes - but I went for it anyway.

Below the video you'll find some questions you can ask yourself to gauge where YOU are with the 3 strategies I'll talk about in the video, as well as some resources that can help you out. And if you would rather read about this stuff, check out the post I wrote for BonBon Break on this very same topic. (But then come back and check out the questions and resources below!)

And now...


January 15, 2015

Delicious Dijon-Ginger Salmon

For as long as I've known him, my husband didn't do fish. Shrimp, yes. Scallops, sure. Lobster, of course. But beyond shellfish, he had a strict no-fish policy, which meant that for the past 15 years the only time I got to eat fish was when we went out to eat or I visited family. 

That is, until a few months ago. 

I first tasted this Dijon-ginger salmon at my sister's and it was so delicious I really wanted to give it a try at home. I had a hunch that the unique flavors of whole grain mustard, Dijon, and ginger would override Hubby's aversion to fish. And since Hubby and I have been trying to make salads and shellfish a more regular part of our dinner rotation, the timing was right - I appealed to his health-fanatic conscious side and convinced him to try this dish. Just once.

You guys, he loved it! This one dish totally turned the tide for fish in our family. It opened the door to start trying other salmon recipes and my husband even comes home with salmon now when he grocery shops. The guy who thought he hated fish now initiates fish dinners! All thanks to this recipe.