Thursday, October 4, 2012

When One of My Birds Leaves the Nest - Temporarily

Most people who know me would probably agree that I am not a helicopter mom. In fact, I can sometimes be quite the opposite of that. I love my children, I try to meet their physical and emotional needs as best I can, I nurture them in my own way - but I don't coddle them and I'm not generally overprotective of them.

Disclaimer - My children typically wear helmets but had taken them off temporarily
to enjoy the rain falling on their head.
I let them participate in sports and activities where they could potentially get injured (and have). I don't immediately rush them to the doctor for every sniffle, ache or pain (even for previously mentioned injuries - yea, I won't be winning mother-of-the-year for that one). I strongly encourage them to handle communication with coaches, teachers, etc. on their own. (Disclaimer - these statements mostly apply to my two teenage boys. I do understand that a preschooler can not fend for herself. Although, I would argue that mine could hold her own. :-) )

Courtesy of Glenn Guy
But let me just say that when one, or both, of my little big birds is gone from the nest for any length of time, even if it's with grandparents, I find myself all out of sorts and wondering what they're doing, if they're OK, if he's behaving, does he miss us, can they figure out what clothes to wear, will he choose to eat at least one vegetable, did they remember their manners, will they make good choices and stay away from bad influences, and on, and on. It's exhausting!

If you haven't guessed by now, one of my birds is temporarily out of the nest - with his grandparents even. I know he's being taken care of and loved on, so it's not a matter of whether he's physically OK or not. To be honest, I think it's more about me and my insecurities as a parent. Have I done all I can to raise good, Christian sons who will remember 'who they are and Whose they are' when they're not under my roof - or at least not in view of my 'you better watch it' look any more? Have I adequately prepared them to stand up for what they believe, for what's right, when they're not necessarily among others who have been raised the same way?

Thank goodness I have a few more years - about 3 1/2 - before I have to worry about this on a more permanent level. That gives me a little more time to get it right, right? Is there a right? Will I be able to tell them/teach them everything they need to know? I'm quickly realizing the answer to those questions is an undeniable no. So I have two choices - I can completely freak out about it all or I can turn it over to the only One who does have the answers to all those questions.

God has really been working on me to relinquish 'control' in many areas of my life - including this one. I am learning to trust that if I follow His guidance as a parent, then my children will be prepared for whatever life throws their way regardless of my inadequacies. Now the clincher is that it's up to them to follow through - even without my 'eagle eye' on them.

So until my little big bird returns to the nest, I'll try not to worry about him too much. Although I was informed that he had eaten chicken and dumplings, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes for dinner last night. It's obvious that I still have my work cut out on educating him regarding what's a vegetable and what's not!

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments I give you today are to be on your hears. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. ~ Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it ~ Proverbs 22:6

Monday, October 1, 2012

Exquisite Eggplant

Eggplant has always been one of those vegetables I just didn't quite know what to do with at home. I liked it when I had eaten it at restaurants but was baffled with how to fix it on my own - until now. My neighbor Suzanne texted me a picture and description of an eggplant dish she had eaten at the beach. She said it was delicious, so I attempted to recreate it. And I must say, the results were quite yummy! So good, in fact, I thought I'd share.

Eggs, beaten
Panko Bread Crumbs
Canola Oil
Feta Cheese (not pictured)
Bacon Ranch Dressing or Balsamic Vinegar

Peel and thinly slice the eggplant.

Dip in beaten eggs.

Dredge in panko.

Heat canola oil in skillet. Place breaded eggplant in hot oil and fry for a minute or two on each side. Remove from oil and blot on paper towel-lined plate.

Sprinkle with feta while still hot. Top with tomato slices and drizzle with bacon ranch dressing. Or if you prefer a lighter taste - which I did - drizzle with balsamic vinegar.


For a lighter version overall, simply 'oven-fry' the eggplant. Coat with bread crumbs and bake on lightly-greased baking sheet at 375 degrees until browned. Then top with the other ingredients.