Assorted Thoughts

We had another great Saturday; it seems like we have had quite a few of those lately. It's nice to always have the weekends free; well, free from work. I try to get my homework done during the week, but sometimes I need to take over a Saturday. Today I didn't have anything pressing so I skipped the school stuff. My classes are MWF this quarter, so it's great to have Monday off. Plus we're on the nice side of the weather system right now and enjoying warm, sunny weather. This morning we spent some time cleaning the house together and then went for a bike ride. There's a bike loop that goes through the entire town on various trails and we rode the whole thing. It's about twelve miles and I can't believe I did it. Since we were starving by the end of it we decided to splurge a little and ate a yummy burger spot downtown. I had a very tasty veggie burger with sprouts and avocado on it. Then Mr. Fob took the kids home and I spent a little time shopping with some Christmas gift cards. Thanks Mom for the Bath and Body Works one, because now I have some fancy heel cream that I hope will help take care of the yucky cracks I keep getting. This afternoon we were all happy when Little Dude took a much-needed (and rare) nap, and then we had pumpkin pancakes for dinner. Now Mr. Fob and I are going to watch Prince Caspian and go to bed.

The "eating more veggies" goal is going well with the help of my produce box. I was a little overwhelmed on Tuesday when we got kale, chard, and collard greens, but we've been working on learning to love our greens. The other night I tried a recipe for kale that was delicious. It's probably not the best thing for your diet, so serve it with something lowfat, like grilled pork or chicken (we had it with a quinoa pilaf). You wash and cut up a bunch of kale, then boil it for about five minutes in salted water. Drain the kale in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Then saute some chopped onion in butter until it is soft. Add the kale and fry a wee bit more, then pour in a half cup of cream. Cook for a few minutes until the cream thickens, then stir in half cup of grated Parmesan. Stir until the cheese melts and season with salt and pepper. Like I said, it's not diet food. But the kids loved it and actually kept asking for more, so at least they were getting some healthy greens with their cream and cheese. The boiling step I got from the America's Test Kitchen folks and I think it made a difference. They said that many tough greens like kale, chard, and collards, need a little boiling to cut the bitterness before sauteing them. Just don't boil them too long or the flavor and nutrients will be gone.

And this the point where I hope no one in my ward is reading my blog, because I'm getting worried about a particular issue that's going on but I want advice. But I also don't want to be too whiny or anything. Little Dude just switched to the "older nursery" class with the new year and I worry that I'm totally getting off on the wrong foot with the nursery leader. First of all, a few days ago I received an email from the primary president (I'm the second counselor) with some issues of concern. One of them was discipline in the nursery class, and Little Dude was listed as one of the kids that was causing a lot of problems last week. I wasn't too surprised because he's had some issues with hitting and pushing that we've been working on. I was surprised that the teacher didn't say anything to me last week or didn't bring him to me during class. Last week was also kind of crazy because they changed our ward to 1 o'clock for ward conference (weird, I know). So I've been feeling a little stressed that Little Dude was causing problems last week and I had no idea. Tomorrow I will definitely let the teacher know that she should bring him to me if he hits anyone, because the only way he learns is for him to not be able to go to class if he is hitting. And it's not safe for the other kids. The other issue is the snack one. At the beginning of the year all the parents received an email reminding them that we would be put on a rotation to bring a snack for the kids. The primary does provide crackers, but apparently the nursery leaders want some fresh fruit and other stuff as well. Last week I just talked to the primary president about it, because I feel like it's not OK to ask parents to bring snack foods. That's why we have a budget. And I'm all right with my kid not eating fruit in nursery. We eat right before church and right after, so he's fine with just a few goldfish in the middle. Well, tonight I got a reminder email that I'm supposed to be bringing a snack tomorrow. Specifically fruit. And I don't really have much fruit in my kitchen right now. I usually do, but we're a little low. We just ran out of bananas. I think we might have some oranges, but I don't usually like to give orange pieces to Little Dude because sometimes he chokes. After already feeling like I'm not on the good side of the teacher, I don't want to be the flaky parent who shows up without snack, but I don't have much in my house and I know there are crackers in the closet at church. I hate dealing with stuff like this. Thankfully the president is in charge of the nursery classes so I don't have to be the one telling them that we don't need to give the kids fruit. The nursery leader is very nice and has good intentions, but I think she's trying to hard to make nursery like preschool. We don't need fancy snacks and elaborate crafts in nursery, just a nice lesson about Jesus and some singing and playing time. But that's the kind of person I am and I know not everyone else is like that. I'm remembering that one of the reasons why I hate being in leadership positions is because I have to constantly remind myself that everyone else is not like me. Sigh.


Our Saturday was lovely too: snowshoeing up to an awesome waterfall above all the fog and inversion in Eugene. The photos turned out quite cool; I'll have to post them later.

Most of the chard recipes I read called for sauteeing in butter because we had a ton of it last year. I liked it: in enough butter. You are right, not so healthy. It would probably be equally good in a really good grade olive oil too.

As for nursery? I'm not sure what to say. I'm frustrated that my four year old's $90 a month (for two days!) pre-school puts me on a snack rotation. And they had a fund-raiser for really expensive cutesy crafts to hang in your house to raise money for playground equipment. I agree that she shouldn't be turning nursery into a mini-pre-school (I think too many church teachers of all ages spend too much time and energy on the "fluff" and not on the gospel), but maybe I have to say, at least she is making an effort? Our ward has a really hard time getting regular nursery leaders, and even ones who accept the calling are kind of spotty about showing up. Also, maybe it is not the nursery leader who is really pushing the fruit thing--could it be another parent who complained and the leader is trying to accomodate everyone?

I wouldn't let your issues fester, however. I think you did the right thing by mentioning it to the Primary president; if a few others did the same then maybe they would change up the program. And if you are the only squeaky wheel, well, you might just have to suck it up and bring the snack.

If she emailed a reminder (actually a really helpful thing), then I think it is totally appropriate to email back. You have already addressed the legitimacy of bringing a snack at all with the pres, so stick to the issues that you have with her: politely request that she send a reminder earlier in the week next time you are on snack duty and that you'll be bringing what you have on hand this week; you should acknowledge that LD can sometimes be agressive (without outright apologizing), but also let her know that LD really likes nursery and that to have to sit out is a really good natural consequence/punishment for his hitting and that perhaps a gentle reminder that he might need to go sit with mom if he continues to hit might be in order.

I think sometimes nursery leaders just don't know WHAT to do, and getting pointers from the parents about what works with that kid can actually be really helpful. She could be one of these hyper-organized extra mile kind of people (which is not so bad really, it may just take some getting used to), who feels like she has failed if a kid has to go to mom or dad for any reason other than a dirty diaper.

Sorry this ridiculous comment is as long as your post . . .
Recession Cone said…
The snack thing is ridiculous. Getting to church is already an enormous feat without having to plan snacks for the nursery.
I think you should ask them to take your name off the snack list.
Kristeee said…
Fresh fruit in Nursery? Wow. That's nice and all, but is totally unnecessary. Although maybe there's a kid in nursery who's got a gluten issue and they go for fruit instead?

I think it's good that you brought it to the President's attention. I agree, though, it's hard not to wonder why people can't just do things the same way you would. Especially when you know you would do it the "right" way. :)
Samantha said…
Just for you, from the new Nursery manual, "Behold Your Little Ones":

Snack: Provide a healthy snack that is easy to manage. Ask parents if there are any foods they do not want their children to eat. Help the children wash their hands and ask a blessing on the food before they eat. Money for snacks should come from the Primary budget.
Jenny said…
The new nursery/sunbeam manual is awesome. I would never bring a snack for my son's nursery. I'd be like, um, I pay tithing, thanks. I've already helped in the snack department. Think of me when you use the budget. Ok so I wouldn't say that out loud, but I would say no thanks, use the budget. Sorry about the confrontation. Don't bring snacks.

I always had to remind my son's teachers like every week during the hitting phase to take him to me if he does it because it's not ok behavior. Sometimes they just have no clue.

All the new veggies sound awesome.

oooh! When my daughter was in the nursery she got corn pops for snack time and still remembers it even though it's been over 2 years and every time we go to the store and she sees them she reminds me those were her fave nursery treat. So annoying.
I'm totally with you on the snack thing. If parents are so concerned about their kids needing fruit, they should just bring their own and give it to them in the mother's lounge during sacrament or something. Today I brought: a bagel and cream cheese, raisens, crackers, grapes and a granola bar. We didn't go through all of them (our church is RIGHT through lunch), but he ate a lot. He's not quite nursery age, but I can see myself doing this in 3 months as well. I'd never expect nursery to provide more than pretzels or crackers.
Em said…
Couple things from the perspective of a (somewhat unwilling) nursery leader:

On the snack, I think they're nuts. I can't imagine dealing with the mess that fresh fruit is. It would make me want to scream. I think you should use the "it makes a huge mess" argument to help support your not bringing of snacks.

On the hitting, at least you care. In response to the "some teachers don't have a clue" types of comments, I actually had a mom roll her eyes at me when I took her son to her after he bit a SECOND kid one Sunday. I try to deal with minor things (like a hit that doesn't actually do damage) with just a "hey, that's not okay to do" for a while before going to mom, because I'm a little afraid of the unreasonable reactions that I've faced from that mom and others.
Em said…
Oh, and with the kale, my Gran makes a really good sausage and potato soup and puts some kale in it. I think the dullness (mildness?) of the potatoes helps with the bitterness.
FoxyJ said…
Thanks for all the comments, everyone. I felt a little bad after I posted because I was mostly seeking validation; for some reason our nursery leaders are both very convinced that we need fruit for snack. We've talked to them today about how the Primary is providing snacks (and we have pretzels and fruit snacks in the classes now), but they would both still like fruit. Sigh.

Little Dude did a better job today; though when I peeked in he was sitting on a chair in time out. But they said that one time and a few warnings seemed to help this week, so hopefully his behavior will improve. I admit that it's been a bit hard for me because I tend to think of him as the non-agressive kid because at home it's usually S-Boogie that we have to deal with for agression. So I think he takes it out on other kids when he's out in public. Double sigh. We are writing a letter that we'll email out to all the parents about the offical policy for children that hit, push, or bite other kids (deliberate actions that hurt others), because we have a few parents that have been really upset about us removing their kids from nursery for such behavior. Nursery is not babysitting, but it is hard to figure out how to help a kid have a good experience and be able to attend without making it dangerous for all the other kids who are in there. And now I'm thoroughly stressed out by primary and I've only been in here two weeks!
Earth Sign Mama said…
Hey Em...I'm a grandma too, and I have this totally good soup that uses sausage, potatoes, and kale! When I'm making potato soup, I sautee onions, garlic and chopped kale (non-blanched)together in olive oil, then add peeled diced russets. Stir fry the potatoes a little to set the starch and then add water to cover it. Cook, mash some of the potatoes with a fork, add milk/half and half/cream--in any combination you desire and heat but not boil. Voila--soup. If you want sausage, just sautee it first, drain it and wipe out the grease before sauteeing the veggies. Here is soup #2: whole Italian sausage (I like spicy) browned. Then sautee onions and garlic, chopped kale. Put the sausage back in and add 4 cups of chicken broth, a drained can of white canellini beans and cook for 30 minutes. You can also add cut up red potatoes when you sautee the veggies. Yum, yum. You just need to have lots of crusty bread to soak up all the juices when you eat it.
Mary said…
I'm a little late to this forum but I'll add my two cents worth-
I was in the nursery for several years. We had fruit most Sundays and I don't remember it ever being an issue. We had 2 adjoining rooms. The smaller room was our playdough/food room and we had a large vinyl tablecloth placed under the tables to protect the carpet and for easier clean-up. That worked well. It also enabled us to set up snacks without the kids present. As far as fruit was concerned, if the moms wanted to bring fruit that was fine. If they forgot or didn't have any on hand, that was fine too since we always had crackers and raisins on hand. Not a big deal.

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