Single Mom Chronicles:Why I Feel Irritated When My Teen Son Wears His Hoodie?

 

phonto (44)

My son pulled on his HOODIE as we exited the car and were headed into my mom’s house. Ugh, my reaction “Take that off now!  He tells me I am letting society change my ideas.  He is only 14 and oblivious to the world around him or at least I think this is the case on some days.   We recently moved back to the suburbs about twenty minutes west of the city.   It is a lot closer than our previous address in the suburbs which was e forty-five minutes from the city.  Although the new location is more affluent the subtle racism has surfaced.   I totally believe the kids are insensitive to  what they deem as jokes.   It cuts like a knife for the kids who are on the receiving end.   My teen has experienced a few incidents of the kids making comments that are totally unacceptable.   In one incident the kids were sitting at a lunch table making a whipping sound, the irony is another student told the guidance counselor on my teen’s behalf.  My teen has not used his voice to act on the comments and/or the  gestures.  I have suggested talking to the Vice Principal, now Principal but to no avail.

Now you may ask why my problem with the HOODIE?  My problem with the HOODIE  is the fact it triggers a defense and fear for those without brown skin.   I cannot stress enough to my teen that his HOODIE for some immediately say perpetrator on the 5:00 NEWS!    Those who judge his brown skin have no clue he is  intelligent, well spoken, a teen with aspirations of going to Stanford.  They cannot see the challenges he faces with moving to a new neighborhood, attending a new school, and navigating a new peer group.  They cannot see his sense of humor, love of hip hop, the fact he tech savvy and a  great debater.  What they can see is his BROWN SKIN and that equals THREAT!!

When I was pregnant with my teen I remember being pulled over by a police officer for entering the turning lane too soon.   I was almost 8 months pregnant driving my company Ford Taurus and confused when I saw the flashing lights.   My husband was following me at the time and he pulled over and exited his car to cross the street with me and the officer.   I could see the officer instantly become unnerved he even asked me “who is he” when I explained my husband he said “Sir go back to your car”  The officer’s defense was immediate when he saw the brown man approaching him who posed no threat.   The act of showing concern because of my condition warranted his defensive stance?????.   In light of the recent incidents involving law enforcement that day fourteen years ago presented an opportunity  go totally wrong.  There are a number of lessons on teaching men of color how and what to do when stopped by an officer or approaching an officer.

I wish a light would go off and my teen suddenly understands my uneasiness.  How much shock value must we provide?  How do you teach your son to be proud of who is? when he is feared!  How do I  provide him with the knowledge to conduct himself accordingly if stopped or questioned? It is a daunting task to deal with while allowing him the freedom to enjoy his teen years.  It really makes me question does the same freedoms apply to our boys with brown skin.   How can we maintain any hope for a bright future when we live in the YET TO BE UNITED STATES?

My Kid’s Chronicles- How I Make the Teen Unplug!

phonto (41)

Do you have a teen in your house?  Well you know like I know the gadgets are a hard habit to break.  The Ipad and Iphone interfere with bedtime so what is the fix for this?  I unplug my wifi at night, BAM it’s off.

Since 2009, I have become a part of the blogging world and all the social media components.  Twitter was my fan favorite, until I was sold on the value in Facebook.  Instagram is a slow walk as it is difficult to juggle all 3 with relevant posts.

When my teen first requested a cell phone I was not onboard with the idea mainly due to the expense.   Now fast forward three years and the teen needs to have a phone or so I am now convinced.  For me more responsibility warrants the use and need for a cell phone.  He is now letting himself in after school so I was convinced for the new school year.   The downside to having children with technology is they are never satisfied with a current model it has to be the latest model.  On his 14th birthday I found myself in the Tmobile store adding a new line to my plan plus his Iphone 5c.   Although, he wanted the Iphone 5s my pockets warranted the 5c so here we are with latest Apple product.   Shortly after we made the purchase he was already gearing up for the Iphone 6.  When does it end?  The mini Ipad  is two years old.

The biggest challenge is how social media rules the lives of a teen.   I realized in the first part of the school year my teen was staying up late on either the Iphone 5c or the Ipad.  Finally I contacted Tmobile to see if I could set restrictions on his line.   I learned Tmobile does provide this feature for a fee of $4.99/month under family allowance.   The plus is the feature exists and the con is a cost per month.  The other con is the owner of the account cannot set the time increments; these are already set by Tmobile.

After finding the teen up in the wee hours of the morning and struggling to get up for school, I have resorted to paying for this feature and unplugging the wifi at night.  This is the only way I feel he will unplug and get some rest.   How do you handle a teen’s social media connection?

Rewind: Thanksgiving 2012

My collage of food for Thanksgiving dinner, whole berry sauce(don’t like the canned stuff) it makes a lot so best served for a big dinner party.  The recipe is on the bag of Ocean Spray fresh cranberries.  Additional side dishes- Sweet Potato Souffle with Crushed Pineapples, Cornbread Stuffing(homemade), Mac and Cheese,  Turkey  and sweet potato pie.  I forgot  to take pictures of the veggies, greens and string beans with smoked turkey parts.

Unfortunately I there are no recipes for any of my usual side dishes because it is made with heart & soul and  a little of this and a little of that…..If you’re lucky enough you’ll get an invite but until then enjoy the visual……

photo credit:  cocoamommy

Food: Baked Pasta with Vegetables


phonto (40)

 

The only tweak I made was leaving out the basil, because I forgot it on my grocery list.  This was a great make ahead dish.  I prepared it on Saturday and baked on Sunday.  Although my kids continued to ask what is this green stuff I insisted they eat!

 

Ingredients

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound penne rigate
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded, finely chopped
  • 1 small yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups (32 oz.) spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 cup torn fresh basil
  • 2 cups ricotta
  • 12 ounces shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Preparation

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente, about 10 minutes.
  2. 2. In a large skillet, warm oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Add bell pepper, squash, zucchini and garlic; sauté for 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. 3. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add spaghetti sauce, vegetable mixture and basil; stir. Taste and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix together ricotta, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  4. 4. Mist a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread half of pasta mixture in dish; drop spoonfuls of ricotta mixture over pasta. Cover with remaining pasta. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake until bubbling, about 35 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe courtesy of : All You magazine.   You can find the recipe online here

My Kid’s Chronicles: Asthma

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We were 3 weeks into the school year, when the coughing started on a Tuesday(Day 1).   As any parent with an asthmatic child knows, pull out the rescue medicine.  For us this means the nebulizer for about twenty minutes every 4 hours.  Well by Wednesday(Day 2) there was no improvement after using the nebulizer every 4 hours.   On Thursday(Day 3) was the annual well visit for both kids, and the doctor noticed my DD was not passing any air.   Her pediatrician gave her a stronger dose of treatment in the office and a dose of prednisone.  It is never a good thing when we get a prednisone prescription.   On Friday (Day 4) and I take her back for follow-up with the pediatrician and her condition is not improved.  We were instructed to go to the ER asap so after 4 days of in home treatments we were sitting in the ER for more treatments and a chest xray.    In the interim the pediatrician on call and the head of pediatrics wanted to wait for x-ray to determine if DD was going to be admitted.    Well the news we were not thrilled to hear, overnight stay in the ER.

 

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What does it mean when you are admitted for asthma flare ups not responding to your normal rescue medicine?   The medication is increased every 2 hours and with the frequency of the medication there is heart monitoring.   This must be done for at least 24 hours before the doctors decide to discharge the patient.   DD was given 2 hour treatments from Friday afternoon, Saturday and it was early Sunday afternoon when she was moved to every 3 hours.   It is impossible to get any rest for the patient and parent with medication being administered every 2 hours.     On the first night in the hospital I belive she finally fell asleep in the wee hours of Saturday morning.    This was truly a test of patience and endurance.   The x-rays did show the presence of pneumonia.  In addition to the respiratory treatments, there were a round of medications.   Two antibiotics, prednisone, an antihistamine, and an antacid(steorids upset the stomach).   The doctors believe the Enterovirus that was spreading was the reason DD’s symptoms were so aggravated.  Normally it takes only about 24-48 hours with the nebulizer but the virus made it difficult to recover with her normal medicines.   Lucky for us the nurse on duty was able to find some arts and crafts to keep DD busy and occupied.  It is difficult to keep a child focused when they want to go home and sleep in their own bed.   I never noticed until late Saturday her room was tagged with a placard for airborne contaminants.   All the hospital personnel who entered her room had to wear a mask and a protective gown.

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Thank goodness for cable and wifi in hospital rooms.  If only they would put in cots for parents who have to stay overnight.   Just imagine a chair that converts to a reclining bed for a day and a half.   I found it interesting that parents who stay overnight have to pay full parking and buy food vouchers to eat meals.    Again a true test of patience and endurance.  When I did get a chance to go home for a change of clothes.  It was so nice to breath some fresh air and see the sun.    Unfortunately there was no opportunity to take DD outside.  I have really have to thank her pediatrician Dr. Karten for going over and beyond with monitoring her condition.  Before we were discharged the doctors had me watch the Nemours Pediatrics asthma online.   We were discharged from the hospital on Sunday afternoon with 7 prescriptions, an asthma plan, a device to monitor her breathing zone, air spacers,

Inspiration: High School Graduation Card

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I believe I found my high school graduation card while cleaning out a bedroom in my mom’s house. This is the only card I have with my dad’s signature.   Although my dad only finished middle school he was a huge proponent of education.   He was elated when I graduated from high school and headed to college.   I am the 5th child of my dad’s 6 kids and the first to graduate from college.   My dad was very diligent when it came to skills, he painted, exterminated, drove a cab and school bus, knew a little about plumbing and electricity.    I believe my tenacity to learn new skills and being an early riser is from him.  It may explain why I was foolish enough to pursue an engineering degree.     He was never one to sleep in, his philosophy was to get up early and get it done.   I am not a fan of getting up early it makes me feel well accomplished.    Unfortunately my dad passed away during my 2nd year at college.   I remember coming home before the end of my first semester and getting the news.   The house I grew up in felt so cold and dark.   I was in shock because I had just visited him in the hospital the month before and for me growing up with a parent who periodically went into the hospital was not unusual.    My dad was a longtime smoker since probably his teens and he suffered from emphysema which caused multiple trips to the hospital.    I learned to deal with it and always thought he would always come home good as new.     This was his last trip in the hospital.

 

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He missed a gazillion jokes, questions, feelings, emotions, ups, downs, and daddy and daughter time.   I remember some of the things he always said “a hard head makes a soft” (I know it sounds like a convoluted statement), the gist of the statement means listen, look and learn otherwise you will not like the consequences!    Always check your tires before you take off, and he never wanted me to learn how to change a tire.  He thought it was too dangerous and better for an experienced person.    I remember how proud he was when I received my freshman grades and I made the dean’s list.   I wish at times I could talk to him and get his perspective on so many life issues.  A dad’s advice for a daughter means so much as an adult.  Memories are meant to cherish and hold on to as we remember those who have passed on.  My advice is cherish the time you have with your loved ones.

Single Mom Chronicles: Mommy Brain on Overload!

Do you have days when your brain is just fried? When I juggle the daily schedule that includes work, making dinner, packing lunches, homework, work at home, and bedtime (which is usually too late). This is the night when my energetic DD has the most energy and wants to give me the extended version of her day in the life of a 2nd grader. When I hit the front door I only want my Pjs, a little peace and quiet, glass of red wine before our evening starts. Sometimes I go into my room and lock the door as I change out of my work clothes. On some evenings I find myself locking myself in my bathroom to sit for some peace and quiet. Guess what I forget to lock the door and that’s when my DD knocks on the door and all I hear is………. I never got this when I was a kid but I so get it now.    Life in the Mommy Lane. Where do you go for peace and quiet?

Cooking and Baking by Me- Leftovers-Turkey Soup

 

phonto (33)

 

 

One of the best things about Thanksgiving dinner is the leftovers…but there are only so many days I can go with eating a full meal.   I decided to take the leftover carcass and make Turkey Soup thanks to this great recipe found at TasteofHome website

 

Ingredients

  • 1 leftover turkey carcass (from a 10- to 12-pound turkey)
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 medium onion, halved
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

Directions

  • Place the turkey carcass in a stockpot; add the water, onion, salt and bay leaves. Slowly bring to a boil over low heat; cover and simmer for 2 hours.
  • Remove carcass; cool. Strain broth and skim off fat. Discard onion and bay leaves. Return broth to the pan. Add the carrots, rice, celery and chopped onion; cover and simmer until rice and vegetables are tender.
  • Remove turkey from bones; discard bones and cut turkey into bite-size pieces. Add turkey and cream soup to broth; heat through. Yield: 8-10 servings (about 2 quarts).

 

The only tweak I made was adding my own blend of seasonings to taste after the final step.  Also I omitted the addition of rice  to eliminate a carbohydrate since I love crusty bread with any type of soup.   Bon Appetit!

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Recipe: Whole Cranberry Sauce

phonto (9)

I started making this recipes about 8 years ago. The recipe is on the back of the bag of Ocean Spray fresh cranberries.

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 12-ounce package Ocean Spray® Fresh or Frozen Cranberries, rinsed and drained

Directions:

Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; add cranberries, return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time.

Makes 2 1/4 cups.

*I add juice from an orange and also have grated orange rind for a little more color

Cooking and Baking By Me: Buttermilk Pancakes

 

 

phonto (31)My favorite meal is BREAKFAST! I love comfort foods and pancakes is definitely a favorite.   The only time I have for a full breakfast is the weekend.   This is my favorite recipe for buttermilk pancakes that I found on allrecipes.com.

You can modify the recipe based on the number of servings.  The below recipe is for 12 servings.   Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
6 tablespoons butter, melted
5 cups buttermilk
5 cups all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
5 teaspoons baking soda
1 pinch salt (optional)
5 tablespoons sugar
DIRECTIONS:
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, butter and buttermilk. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar; stir into the wet ingredients just until blended. Adjust the thickness of the batter to your liking by adding more flour or buttermilk if necessary.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side. Continue with remaining batter.