Friday, July 15, 2011

The Friday Fray

My grandma lives right around the corner from me which is just one of the happiest things in my life. I adore her. Sometimes she invites us over for dinner - last weekend we ate with her and she served a delicious salad. We eat a lot of salad, so I'm always happy to find a new variation. Thought you might like the recipe...

Salad de Maison
(Yields 8 Servings)

2 heads romaine lettuce, washed and torn
2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 c. swiss cheese, cubed or coarsely grated
1/3 c. parmesan cheese, shredded
2/3 c. slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 lb. cooked bacon, crumbled

I especially love this simple dressing:

(best if made several hours ahead of time)

Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. salt
3/4 c. olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. pepper

Top with croutons.

I hope you love that recipe.

On a somewhat more personal note, I've been spending a lot of time cleaning and then re-cleaning the same rooms and trying not to get frustrated about the fact that nothing stays done. Nothing. I know lots of people say, "just let the house go when your kids are little... blah, blah, blah." I can't do that. I need order. I don't coexist well with clutter. I'm a happier, nicer mom when the house is tidy. So I'm looking for that ever-elusive balance of what to let go and what to insist on. I need to do a better job of teaching/training the kids to clean up after themselves. I know to some degree I enable them because I get so sick of the mess, and I want so badly to avoid the conflict, that I just clean it up myself. Not so good.

Anyway, I hope you're finding answers to all of your parenting quandaries.
And I hope you're invited to a wonderful event this weekend and I hope the hostess asks you to bring the salad because {ding!} ... you're all set!



Jessica said...

I totally am with you on the house thing! I feel like I'm struggling with the exact same thing right now. If you run across any great tips, please do share!

Rachael said...

Em, just another comment from the trenches--I too feel like I'm a better and happier mother/wife/woman when my house is tidy. And I've agonized over that whole "your children won't notice if the house is clean, they'll just notice if you play with them thing" and I firmly believe that my children DO notice (they'll comment on how they visited a friend's house and it was so messy they couldn't play) and I've found that they're happier too. But still perfectly happy to make messes. :-) So we're just working on handling it one day at a time.

I've found some peace in thinking that my house can be clean underneath--the mopping, sweeping, dusting--and still have a skiff of toys on top that can be picked up in five minutes or so. So it may look a little untidy, but I know it's clean. :-)

Mickie and Matt said...

Some how, for the sake of my sanity, the Lord blessed my son with the same sense of OCD tidiness I have. He can have things messy but for the most part he puts things exactly back where he got it... he throws wrappers away, dishes in the sink, when he spills he tries to clean it up or tells me, he cleans up his toys and even tells me when the floors are too dirty with a resounding "YUCK!" while pointing to a crumb on the kitchen or bathroom floor. I don't even ask him to do it most of the time. (I know when he is a teenager it wont be this way so i am soaking it all in now...)

I didn't teach him this he's been doing it since he could crawl. WEIRD but I am SO happy about it! I too have had those EXACT same thoughts and told my husband about it just yesterday... are you Bloom writers just listening to all my thoughts or what! The ONLY thing I can let slide here at my house is the glass sliding back door. I clean it probably every other day and even still there are little 2 year old hand prints all over it seconds later, is it worth cleaning? YES. Is it worth stressing about because it is dirty 30 seconds later? Nope. It's inevitable and will be for another decade or so and I am okay with it.

p.s. LOVE the salad recipe and LOVE that you live near your grandmother, I sure wish I did.

Alicia said...

I love this recipe! We serve it at a lot of luncheons/showers.

As far as the house, I can handle toys out for the most part, but I hate the dirty dishes, the gross kitchen floor, the piles of laundry. I think there is a difference between having a messy house and a dirty house. However, I still haven't found the balance between having a 3 year old and a 2 year old and going back to work full time. Maybe one day!

Ria said...

Here is one tip I learned for surviving the summer with kids at home. Each weekday morning I asked the kids to do a quick pick-up of their rooms and one extra job. The rest of the day was theirs to fill as they liked. I found they were quick to respond because it wasn't a day of drudgery looming ahead of them. It didn't take very long to pick up toys and clothes in their rooms and the extra job might be doing a sweep of things left out in a particular room or some weeding etc. I left the deep cleaning for their Saturday chores and Sunday we let things go taking the day off. (I paid for that on Monday but I liked having a day off as much as they did).

One other tip for the Saturday deep clean; I found myself frustrated because the kids took FOREVER to clean their rooms. Sometimes they spent all day in there never getting done. So I instigated candy bars. Yes, bribery. Not very often my kids got a whole full size candy bar so it was a treat. I kept a stash in the pantry which they could choose from if their room was done by 11:00 am. If they missed the deadline, no candy bar. Most weeks they were done in time. I recently shared this with a frustrated Mom and after a few weeks she said it is working like a charm. No more Crazy Saturday Mom. Now she is Fun Mom. If you don't like your kids to have sugar, the reward could be something else obviously but the candy bar was an easy solution that worked for our family.

Rae. said...

When I start to feel overwhelmed (often) with the never-ending-cycle of cleanup, I pull out a bag or two and fill it with stuff for goodwill as I clean. It feels soooo refreshing. Too often we need to just de-junk! It's like little, icky toys breed in my house or something: get every McDonald's plastic piece of junk outta there! Get rid of two pairs of shoes, old underwear (I trash those), gross barbies, random art project remnants...

I don't apologize either. These children have the world to play with! They will be just fine without polly pockets from 2003.


Good luck!


Bloom said...

i'm loving these comments and suggestions; you guys are the best.
mickie - your boy sounds like a darling - enjoy it while it lasts. maybe it will last forever ?!
rae - you crack me up!

happy weekend everyone :)


Heather said...

Yum! That salad looks fantastic, thanks for the recipe.

I was just nodding my head and thinking "oh that is so me!" about being a happier mom when things are tidy and clean. I agree 100% with Rachael - kids do notice. And I love what she said about being clean underneath! If my floors are swept and steamed, house is dusted, counter tops clean, then I have no problem with toys and such that can be quickly picked up and put away. I love a good deep clean too, put on some music and attack the baseboards, walls, blinds, you name it. What you make of your home REALLY does make a difference I feel! The most important thing while our kids are little is to play and spend time with them, but I feel it's pretty important for a clean, happy environment as well! Thanks for this!

Amy at Ameroonie Designs said...

I am learning that my job isn't necessarily to keep the kids "happy" but to teach them the skills they will need to be successful in life. Skills like how to maintain a home. We used to have a deep clean Saturday, but I have opted to spread out those chores over the course of the week. Monday is laundry- all of it, tuesday we do garbage and dusting, Wednesday is cleaning bathrooms with cleanser, Thursday is Bedrooms (dust, vacuum, etc) Fridays are a general clean up. Even though my house isn't all clean all at once, it's still getting cleaned as often as it did before, it takes less time and energy per day and Saturdays can be spent as a family when my husband is home.
Everyone has jobs after dinner as well so the house is picked up for the morning. My kids have actually started just doing their jobs without even being told because they're getting in the habit! It's such a nice thing to not have to constantly get after them (but sometimes I still do :) ).