Stirring the pot, raising hell and rearing children in the Bay Area

Thing 2

Hello, There Santa!

Posted on Dec 11, 2009 in Holidays, Seasons, Thing 1, Thing 2 |

Santa Things

Santa Things

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No GirlScouts for Us

Posted on Nov 30, 2009 in Rants, Thing 2 |

No GirlScouts for Us

The Girl Scouts mission statement is: “Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.” I love the idea of the organization. I remember wanting to be a Girl Scout when I was growing up. I made it to Brownies before ditching it for soccer in sixth grade. So when my girl hit Kindergarten, I excitedly signed her up to be a Daisy Scout with high hopes of a bright green sash full of fun badges. I didn’t even mind the idea of selling Thin Mints.

Last week I got a notice about our troops (Scouts, Brownies, Daisys) having an overnight. I was ready to go. Grab the sleeping bags! Learn to pitch a tent! Make S’Mores!

Although I’m not the camping type, I was excited about the Girl Scouts adventure. I opened the email, readying for a fun mom/kid trip.  There are not words to describe my great disappointment when I opened the Northern California Girl Scouts’  email. The overnight, as it turned out, was a night at the mall. That’s right, a sleepover at Westfield Shopping Center.

Reading on, my jaw dropped further as the email touted middle-of-the-night dance parties, runway fashion shows, Girl Scout models, “lots of glam” and a Bling! photo contest. What was I missing? Where was the character building and courage they’d promised? Courage to what? Catwalk?

The sleepover was held this past weekend. We spend the day hiking on our local trails and telling stories about where we’ve traveled and where we’d like to travel. We had a block party that day too, a pumpkin pie eating contest, kids doing sidewalk chalk in the street and racing their Razors up and down the block. It was a family day to remember. So maybe my expectations of Girl Scouts needs to change. Maybe the Scouts are just posing as a character-building organization while secretly making bank off of underage cookie pushers. Maybe they just forgot the Scout in the Girl.

I didn’t pluck this fantasy ideal of Girl Scouts out of thin air. I have friends who are in Indian Princesses that just returned from an overnight filled with midnight flashlight tag and team rock climbing. Other friends participate in theYMCA’s Adventure Guides where outdoor activities focus on parent child relationships where you are encouraged to “get to know your kid while your kid is still a kid.” I had an expectation that the Girl Scouts would be a wholesome growing experience for my kid. Instead they want to teach her to shop-’til’-you-drop.

I brought up my concerns to a long-standing Girl Scout mom, who laughed and told me to  “Get modern!” She told me the girls that attend the mall overnight have a lot of fun. Now, maybe it is fun (a grownup version with wine instead of juice boxes?), but it’s not the point of Girl Scouts to me. This isn’t the message I want to give to my daughter. If you want to have a slumber party at the mall, I’m all for it. Just don’t call it character-building. Don’t tell me you are helping my child make the world a better place. In fact, don’t tell my child anything. We’re done with you.

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My Big Girl Reader

Posted on Nov 6, 2009 in School, Thing 2 |



My incredible daughter picked up a book the other day and started reading it aloud. I pulled the car over to the side of the road and just sat there looking at La Gringa in amazement.

My girl really didn’t want to read a word of English (she reads in Spanish) until she was good and ready. And until she knew she could do it. And do it well.

We sat there and listened to her read a whole book. From that moment on, she’s reading and reading and reading and writing. Words are coming together for her and the doors are opening up in her otherwise Spanish language world.

She spent a day going on errands with us, at every stop reading, “That says, ‘Enter'” or “Hey mom, that over there says ‘Sale.'” We never got sick of her reading everything she could get her eyes on.

Go girl, go get your read-on.

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My Little Pumkin Pie

Posted on Oct 24, 2009 in Food, Silly, Thing 2 |

Pumkin Eater

Pumpkin Pie Eating Contest at Annual Block Party

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Stone Soup

Posted on Oct 14, 2009 in Family and Friends, Food, Thing 2 |

I never really got the point of the book, Stone Soup. Maybe its that I don’t like the idea of starving children. Maybe because I’m too base to understand the big moral story. In any case, it was never really one of my favorites. However, the book “The Real Story of Stone Soup” I like a lot more. It’s clever and silly and has a beautiful Asian twist to it. The illustrations are great too.

Thing 2 asked if we could make Stone Soup for dinner tonight. And indeed, we are. Here’s the recipe:

The Chang Brothers’ Egg Drop Stone Soup
2 T canola oil
2 cloves garlic, fine chop
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/4 cup mushrooms
4 pieces banana leaf
2 tomatoes cubed
4 cups chicken stock (or hot&sour soup mix)
8 ounces white fish (halibut is good)
1 large egg, well beaten
1 t sesame oil
1 T soy sauce
and of course, 3 stones, washed thoroughly
Heath oil in wok or skillet. Add garlic, onion, mushrooms. Cook for one minute. Add banana leaf, tomato. Reduce heat. Stir in stock. Add stones. Boil. Reduce heat and add fish, bring to boil again. Turn off heat. Stir soup in one direction with chopstick and slowly pour in egg so egg forms long threads. Stir in sesame oil and soy sauce. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve hot!
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Good Morning, Honey

Posted on Oct 2, 2009 in Family and Friends, Thing 2 |

My beautiful daughter

My beautiful daughter

You left for school today in a plaid dress with bobby socks and schoolgirl shoes. The kitchen table still has pink bunny and your #2 pencil and eraser on it. You only ate half your eggs but all of your orange juice today. You skipped all the way to class with your giant backpack that’s as big as you are bobbing along. I am so madly in love with you, my sweet, smart, kind daughter.

I watched you do your homework this morning in your pink pajamas, focusing just so to make certain you wrote your spelling words correctly. This time,  every word, every letter, every number written so beautifully. You were smiling at your own work.

I think you are the most extraordinary girl I’ve ever known. I love you. Thanks for making my day, sweetheart.

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