Sunday, January 20, 2013

It's not you, it's me

I would like to start off by stating, for the record, that I am fully aware that I am the type of person who learns best from her mistakes, from doing something and then seeing if it works and if not, reflecting and tweaking from there. I see this whole process play out in my day job, other pursuits, and my parenting.

I am a big advocate for kids having chores, i.e., responsibility. I think we've always had Dylan help with chores but I wanted to make a more organized system for him. Being a list-maker, I sought out to create a carefully-thought-out and planned but what ended up being a not-quite-effective system for him to do so. I even have the laminated chore chart to prove it:

The system seemed okay, with my original intent to teach self-monitoring (re: checking off what he had done) and delayed gratification (re: receiving reinforcement a.k.a. allowance at the end of the week). However, we everyone else realized quickly that this was not going to work. It took me awhile to come to this conclusion, being the stubborn "LET'S JUST KEEP TRYING" person I am, and a little bit of ego over the whole "LOOK HOW CAREFULLY PLANNED OUT THIS SYSTEM WAS!" Wow there's a lot of self-disclosure and introspection going on in this discussion. Anyway,  the process of checking off each day's worth of chores and waiting the entire week for money was not teaching my intended lessons, and leaving everyone frustrated when I was nagging reminding Dylan to do chores, and checking them off, and then he would forget and end the week with an empty chore chart and of course be frustrated that he didn't earn his allowance DESPITE DOING HIS CHORES. Which is SO not the intended lesson here.

I wanted to do something much simpler, that would actually motivate Dylan to do chores and help out without me nagging reminding him, and would not require a complicated system of checking-off and completing 3 chores from the above column while also completing everyday chores (as I'm typing this out, I'm hearing myself and how complicated I made it.. geeze).

 We talked to Dylan and decided on having him complete his expected chores everyday, without any type of allowance or reward, because they were expected as part of our family and helping out with household chores. These 'everyday chores' are pretty straightforward- making his bed and feeding the cats. He must do them before going out to play with friends, and if not, he will lose 30 minutes of his weekend video-game time (he has a timer and allotted time for videogames on weekends... a system which has actually worked very well for us).

Additionally, I post tasks and chores around the house that he can complete, along with the money he will earn for completing, on post-its on the fridge. These have included, cleaning his room, vacuuming the rug in the living room, dusting shelves, cleaning the bathroom mirrors or windows in the living room, and so on. Dylan can take a post-it with the chore, complete it, hand it to me and instantly receive his money. These come and go- for instance, the other day I had 'vacuum the rug' posted, which he chose not to do, and I decided to vacuum the whole apartment myself so I took that one down. There's no arguing, fighting, or nagging anymore, which I like. Dylan has chosen to do a few of the chores, and skipped others, but I suspect he will be more motivated once his holiday cash runs out.

Lesson learned: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. BUT IF IT IS FACT BROKE, by all means fix it. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta- Dylan's favorite dish

Whew. It has been a hectic week getting back into the 'normal' schedule after break, and break itself was a whirlwind. So, yeah, busy! But not complaining.

I wanted to wish ya'll a happy new year with one of my go-to dinners, which is Dylan's personal favorite and not only his most-requested dish but also what he asked for his birthday dinner. Yes, I am truly blessed with a child with good taste.

This dish is something I make so often I kinda sorta don't remember the exact measurements, so play around with it to your liking (particularly the spices). I've made it with lemon-garlic seasoning, adding garlic powder, and so on and it always comes out delicious.

First, start off by boiling some water and throwing 1/4 box of angel hair pasta in there until done, about 8-9 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add in 2 cloves chopped garlic, and sauté until fragrant. Then, add 1 tsp. of red Chile pepper flakes.

Add 1 lb. deveined and de-shelled (is that a term?) shrimp (if using frozen, make sure it is thawed, and I like to leave the tails on).

Cook until the shrimp is pink.

Add in drained, cooked pasta and mix together. Turn off heat, then squeeze the juice of one lemon over the pasta and shrimp.

Serve! I typically will garnish with fresh chopped parsley but forgot to pick some up from the store.

So, you caught me: the pictures were taken at Christmastime. OR did I not yet put away my Christmas stuff? Bwahaha you'll never know!

A very simple yet crave-worthy dish. I like to enjoy with some white zinfandel. Not that I'm a wine pairing expert or anything... I just like white zin and would recommend it with everything (burgers? WHITE ZIN). I digress...

Lemon-garlic shrimp pasta
Recipe from: I can't remember...
Serves: 3

1/4 of 1 box angel hair pasta (I use whole wheat)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon red Chile pepper flakes
1 pound shrimp, deveined and thawed, with tails on
1 lemon
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Boil water and cook pasta until done, about 8-9 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add garlic, and saute until fragrant. Sprinkle garlic with red Chile pepper flakes and add in shrimp. Cook until shrimp is pink.

Add cooked and drained pasta to pan, and stir together for a few moments. Turn heat off, and squeeze the juice from one lemon over pasta and shrimp.

Serve, garnished with fresh parsley.