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Working Mothers

11 Apr

I’ll never forget the day I left my son at day care when I first went back to work.  I knew I had no choice.  DB wasn’t going to support us in any real way nor was he interested in taking care of our newborn infant on a full-time basis (nor could he be trusted to do so).  It was a very difficult decision and one that I relented over for a very long time afterward – how I would be missing all of his growth and changes that occur so rapidly when they are that young. 

Of course, pain has subsided over the last 4-5 years but I will never forget the agony of leaving my infant and the anger I had at the US government for not supporting working families in a way that would allow a women to spend more time with her infant – even if unpaid – 12 weeks doesn’t seem to be enough time to bond with your baby when they just seem so small and helpless at just 3 months old – weighing at times less than 16 llbs!  What I learned is that many women are back in the office after 6 weeks for financial reasons – I can’t even imagine that!

Our country has so many problems but if we can ever clean up our current problems (like getting people employed, tax reform and saving the middle class from extinction), I would love to see our federal government sponsor some type of legislation that supports Working Mothers returning or not returning to work so soon after the birth of their children.

I saw this clip of iVillage’s Woman of the Week and I thought I should share it.  I think this women is a great role model for her daughter and for the Working Mother’s of Italy.  We are not all able to bring our children to work but she found a way to do it in the public eye raising awareness about the dilemmas of working mothers.

Here’s the link to the video – I can’t figure out how to actually embed the video here:

http://www.ivillage.com/ivillage-woman-week/1-j-392786?ice=iv:dailycandy:promoweek2

Peter Pan and Pixie Dust!

10 Apr
Tinker Bell and the Mysterious Winter Woods

Tinker Bell and the Mysterious Winter Woods (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are days I love being a single mom.  This past Easter Sunday was one of them.  My son has been into Peter Pan since we returned from Disney in October.  He saw Peter Pan during one of the productions and at Magic Kingdom he just related to this character so much!  We’ve read the original story of Peter Pan before bedtime and  watched the guest appearance of  Peter Pan on Jake and the Neverland Pirates last month. 

The Easter bunny left some chocolate for him in his Easter basket but the highlight this year for my little guy was not the chocolate bunny from Lindt or the Peanut Butter Easter eggs – it was a Peter Pan costume.  He immediately decided to put it on and act in full character for me.

Later that day we had dinner with family near the beach and my son and I went for a walk on the beach (with Mid-Western Boy, as well).  My little guy was dressed in his Peter Pan costume and was an amazing sight to see as he searched for treasure on the beach and threatened to fight Captain Hook (aka. Mid-Western Boy) with “one hand behind his back!” 

It’s his imagination and creativity that I love!  I try my best to nurture this part of him because I know at some point I lost my imagination and find it hard to create – I want my son to know the importance of being creative and thinking freely.  I know that it is as a single parent that I am able to do this…the man I was married to, whom I conceived this beautiful child with , also known as DB, would never permit this in his home.  In fact, his father has repeatedly asked  me why I allow my son to run around outside the  home in costume.  My son has also confided in me many times that when he is at his father’s house he cannot choose what to wear on his own – his father choose his clothes for him….

Allowing my son to dress himself and wear his costumes and act out his favorite characters, I believe, allows for the full development of this little person — without interference from me or anyone else (except for maybe correcting on manners and other social skills) and allows him to be free from judgement, negativity and helps develop his confidence.  Something, that I think an overbearing father, like DB, would not allow to have happened.

My only regret is that I didn’t bring my camera along to capture this very special afternoon!

Jelly Beans and Peeps

6 Apr
This is a picture i took for the Candy article.

This is a picture i took for the Candy article. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Isn’t it funny how food can bring comfort?  I’ve been having a rough week.  Running and I are still having issues and without running I feel like I’m on the brink of losing my sanity.  I was picking up a prescription medicine at the pharmacy earlier this week and I saw some Easter peeps and old fashion jelly beans (not jelly belly or starburst) on the shelf.  I picked them up and took a walk through midtown munching on them – trying to escape the office and my thoughts for just a few minutes.

As soon as I took a bite into the yellow peep, I had a rush of happiness.  My memories of Easter Sundays searching for eggs in my childhood home with my sister became so vivid – a rush of happiness ran through me. 

Spring is on the horizon and with its reminders of new beginnings, new life and hopefully better running days.

A Date with My Four Year Old

1 Apr

My little man and I spend at least one day a week (usually a saturday afternoon) on a date!  One of my very favorite things we have done together recently is enjoy New York City’s generous music/art scene designed specifically for children.  

We attended a performance by the Little Orchestra Society of Cinderella and the Prince who Slayed the Magic Dragon at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center.  A few weeks later, we attended the performance of Lucky Duck at the New Victory Theater.   For both events, I spent last then $25 on our tickets combined!   I usually choose the cheaper seats in the house and then politely request to move to better seats if the show is not sold out  (this has been successful on almost every single occasion – except one so far – event was sold out).   I also almost always look for discount codes before I purchase tickets.  Every performance I have taken my son to was purchased at a discount – including these two performances.

Finally, one of the keys to saving money on this type of event – we always take public transportation (in our case the subway or bus) and pack our food.  I usually pack my son’s favorite meal – peanut butter and jelly sandwich – cut into fours apple slices, a squeezable yogurt and a thermos of ice-cold water.  We always arrive to the performance early so we can find a place to sit and eat our “picnic” lunch and use the restroom!

I hope that exposing my son to music and theater at a young age will help him to appreciate the arts as he grows into a young man.  I hope you have a chance to enjoy a performance with your little person in a city near you soon and see how it impacts their imagination and view of the world! 

My Wise Four Year Old

1 Apr

I was enjoying a little Saturday Morning Dance Party in our living room with my four year old son.  When we were done grooving to LMFAO‘s “I’m Sexy and I Know it” and Rock Party Anthem – I told him I loved spending time with him and that he really is a blessing in my life.  Then I impulsively asked him – “are we best friends, goose – goose?” 

He replied in his sweet little voice (I wish I can record it forever) – “Mommyyyyy, we can’t be best friends – You’re my mommy and I’m your son!”

My wise four year old.  He reminded me of my place in his life  – I am his parent and I don’t want to be his friend – I need to be his parent so he can grow into a well adjusted gentleman.

Valentine’s Day Cookies

19 Feb

I didn’t get to post earlier in the week about my Valentine’s Day celebration with my little guy.  I was never really into celebrating Valentine’s Day until my little man asked that we be festive.  A few weeks before he asked me to bake heart shaped cookies for his friends.  And so, the preparation for Valentine’s Day began – we made little Valentine’s for his friends and on the weekend before Valentine’s Day we baked shortbread heart shaped cookies.  My little man baked his own cookies and has his own baking tools.  I find baking and cooking with children really encourages them to be involved in what they are eating and learning about coooking! 

 It is a lot of work to have the children in the kitchen but I think the benefits are enormous.

A GIANT win!

9 Feb

I hosted a Superbowl party on Sunday to watch the NY Giants beat the New England Patriots for the 2012 Superbowl Championship.  It was an awesome day on many levels.  Firstly,   my son confirmed that he is a Giants fan more than a Jets fan (which has been a point of contention in our house because DB thinks it is very important that his son grows up to be a Jets fan and has been trying to brainwash my son against the Giants – very sick, I know) and secondly I was able to host a Superbowl party for the first time ever.  DB never allowed me to invite people over for the Superbowl for a variety of reasons (television too small; nobody likes me and would come, etc.)  But I digress.  I couldn’t wait to cook for the party!

 I love cooking for friends and family and watch them come together to enjoy a nice meal.  I’m not sure if this is a result of my Italian-American heritage or just because I love food.  Either way, it is important for me to have every meal prepared and eaten together – including our breakfast, lunch and dinner!  I prepare almost every single meal my son eats including his snacks — kale chips, cookies and cakes!

Many of my friends marvel over how do I make time to cook among all of my – duties including being a full-time attorney and a mom (and now girlfriend too!)   I think the key to being efficient when juggling all of these other responsibilities with cooking for a group lies in the following three things (1) Fresh Direct food delivery service; (2) organizing my grocery list early in the week; and (3) a slow cooker!

A slow cooker has been an excellent addition to our busy life and has encouraged me to make more meat recipes for my Mid-Western Boy – who absolutely loves meat dishes.  I never used a slow cooker before last month and now I make at least one awesome meal a week with it – including on Superbowl Sunday!

On Superbowl Sunday my guests arrived around 1 hour before the actual game started.  I prepared everything but the sliders before my guests arrived.  I began grilling the sliders about 30 minutes before the game started so that everyone had fresh burgers to much on during the first half of the game.  I had hoped to cook wings for the second half of the game during halftime (they were prepared already) but my guests confessed that they were too full for the wings.  So, I left them to eat later in the week. 

I love eating together and talking about the food.  My guests were impressed with all of my “homemade” dishes but especially my meat-less chili and my secret ingredient macaroni and cheese!

CityMama’s Easy Superbowl Party Menu

Drinks:

I kept it simple with two different beers; a pitcher of fresh, fresh lemon flavored water (and some soda for those that are still addicted to the high fructose corn syrup)

Appetizers:

  When the guests arrived I put out salsa, tortilla chips, baked potato chips, mixed olives and various  cheeses for them to much on.    I had also warmed up “pigs in a blanket” that I purchased at Trader Joes the week before.  I toyed with making my own pigs in the blanket (I have some mini organic chicken apple sausages that I give to my son for lunch) but I didn’t want to waste time on preparing something that will be gone with two bites and that was easy to buy already prepared!

Main Course:

City Mama Secret Ingredient Macaroni & Cheese: I prepare a healthy version of homemade macaroni and cheese topped with breadcrumbs and sliced tomatoes.   My secret ingredient (substituting some cheese with frozen winter squash).  Trust me – no one can tell the difference. 

Slow Cooker Meatless Chili: I love this recipe because it is so easy to make and it yields a lot of servings.  In a slow cooker I put the following ingredients: 1 large can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of northern beans, 1 can of kidney beans, 1 can of black beans, four or so cups of chicken broth, a diced fresh pepper (usually green), 2 tablespoons of chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and some oregano.  I set the slow cooker for 8 hours.  When it finishes cooking I add 1 cup of cooked couscous, some shredded cilantro, salt and black pepper to taste.  Before I serve the meatless chili, I use a ribbon shredder and shred some extra-sharp Wisconsin cheddar cheese and cut up pieces of avocado.  It is so simple and so filling!

Prime Angus Beef & Turkey Sliders : This is always a bit hit at a party but it does take some time to make them.  I purchased packages of already prepared sliders made of organic turkey and some made of prime angus beef.  I heated up a cast iron grill pan on my stove (removed the fire alarm from the kitchen) and grilled 6 sliders at a time!  I also toasted the buns on the side of the grill pan that wasn’t being used.  I grilled each burger for about 4-5 minutes per side and topped the buns with organic red leaf lettuce, organic beefsteak tomato, melted wisconsin cheddar and some ketchup.  Pickles served on the side.

Dessert:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches: I prepared my chocolate chip cookie recipe the week before and froze the batter in a log form.  I defrosted the log the morning of the Superbowl and baked the cookies earlier in the day. I added a scoop of vanilla ice cream in between two cookies and passed around dessert!

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