Tag Archives: The Wife


The Wife was having a phone conversation with a friend while we were in the car and I overheard something about how we hadn’t seen several recent Pixar movies.

The Wife (on the phone): “No, sometimes they look like they might be preachy, and I don’t want that. We didn’t see Inside Out. No, we didn’t see the dinosaur one, either, though I heard it was okay. Yeah, you’d told me it was basically about adoption. We don’t have time to watch them without the kids first, and you never know what message or idea a kid might see and latch onto.”

Me (interrupting): “Uh, weren’t you the one who wanted us to watch Ghostbusters with them just the other day?”

The Wife: “Yes. But I didn’t think they’d pay much attention to it since it’s not an animated movie. Lord knows I’m not animated and they don’t seem to pay attention to me!”

Reviewing the Book: Protecting the Gift

As a way to finally stop flogging the deceased equine I’ve been working on for the past two weeks, I’d like to review an excellent book on the topic: Protecting the Gift by Gavin De Becker.

Like Wonder Weeks, I knew when I started this blog that I wanted to write about this book. Given the topics I’ve been discussing lately, now seemed like the best time for it.

De Becker is an expert on threat assessment and predicting violent behavior. His firm has consulted for government agencies, high-placed officials, and corporations. From what he reveals in the book about his own childhood, De Becker became familiar with most of the threats children can face at an unfortunately early age. When he turns that expertise towards the dangers facing children the result is a book full of concrete, practical information… 

“Wait,” I say. “Won’t your readership think you are talking about safety like, don’t leave diaper pins on the floor and make sure slides are some mathematical equation high to prevent traumatic brain injury? Isn’t it important that first thing they understand that this is a book about keeping your kids safe from child predators and sexual abuse?”

So The Dad says, “While I finish the dishes will you write about Protecting the Gift?”

“I’ll try,” I say. That was 5 minutes ago.

About 2 hours ago LifeLock alerted me to the fact that a violent sexual offender has moved into our neighborhood about 2 blocks away.  Before I read this book, I might have been tempted to freak out silently and then pretend I didn’t know.  That is common.  That is being a “denier” and it is dangerous for kids.

People who fixate on the wrong issues pretend that sexual abuse could not happen to their child or a child they know, or think that their money, power, or religion make them immune to such awfulness are in denial.  Denial is dangerous.  It robs a person of knowledge and knowledge is power.  Protecting the Gift helps identify the real risks children face and how to navigate this world without being afraid.  As a bonus it helps teach parents, teachers, daycare workers, and anyone else who works with kids how to raise children to be confident and capable but also protected.

When we were young parents and needing to hire a babysitter for our precious first child we did not have the alacrity to look someone in the eye and ask, “what would you do if you realized the child you were minding was masturbating?” or “Have you ever suspected that a child in your care was being sexually abused?  What would you do if you suspected a child in your care was being sexually abused?”  Of course we wanted our darling to have an amazing caregiver but we had no idea how to get from home wanted ad to actual safe, reliable sitter.  De Becker’s book opened our eyes to the importance of discussing these taboo things with anyone who was going to be a consistent care giver for our children.  It also informed our process for referencing of babysitters.

De Becker also lays out all the prerequisite skills a kid needs to safely navigate the world alone.  How does one know that a kid is ready for the wide open world of shopping at the mall with friends at 12, going to a slumber party at 9, or being left at a playdate under the other parents’ supervision at 4?

Lastly, and most importantly, Protecting the Gift talks about intuition and instinct.  About honoring it and acting on it even when our societal preference for nicety and quiet have to be thrown out the window.  It gives a permission that is lacking for most people—the permission to actively and without hesitation act to keep children safe.

This should be required reading for every parent.  End of story.

(That was a million times better than my first crack at this. Thanks, Dear!)

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m a COOK”*

So, the Dad asked me to guest post.  I’m The Wife.  Move along if you aren’t interested in a spring time dinner recipe/menu.

Oh.  You are still here.  Okay.  Well, this happened because I cooked and the Dad thought it was tasty and therefore blog worthy.  Unfortunately, the invite didn’t happen until *after* the meal so there aren’t any “in process” photos.


Barbecue chicken

Barbecue potatoes

Roasted broccoli

Corn bread



BRINE: In a microwave safe bowl add 4c water, 1/4c salt, 1/3c sugar, 1tsp maple extract, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tablespoon paprika.  Microwave 30 seconds until salt and sugar dissolve.  Pour over chicken breasts and water until the chicken is covered (I think I had 4 pounds or so but if you have less chicken it won’t matter).  Let chicken sit at least 15 minutes but the longer the better.  Mine sat about an hour.  Much more time than that requires refrigeration.

Once brined grill your chicken until cooked through and the recommended temperature.  Ours went on my charcoal grill and was fantastic.  I coated them with either Stubbs Sweet Heat or some homemade BBQ sauce that happened to be in a Stubbs Bar-B-Q Sauce bottle.



8X8 pan sprayed with canola spray.  Oven at 475 convection roast.  4 medium potatoes partially baked in the microwave because they were stored in the fridge during our recent travels.  Slice the first potato.  Heavily salt the slices.  On top of the salted potato slices place a few slices of cheddar cheese and some clumps of a half brick of cream cheese.  Slice the second and third potatoes on top.  Salt heavily.  Place the remainder of the cream cheese and a few more slices of cheese.  Slice the remaining potato on top and salt it.  Put 2 tablespoons of chopped frozen onion into the pan of potatoes.  Place 3 slices of uncooked bacon over the top of the potatoes.  Place into oven.  When you can smell the bacon cooking pull the potatoes out.  Use a pair of utility shears to cut the bacon into pieces.  Be careful as it will be really hot.  Stir the bacon into the potatoes.  Some of the potatoes may have begun to roast/carmelize.  This is good!  Stir those into the bottom and try to expose new potato flesh for browning.  Place back into oven for another 20 minutes or so.  Repeat the browning and stirring  20 minute cycle until the potatoes are roasted and the rest of dinner is prepared.



Spray pan with canola spray.  Spread frozen broccoli in a layer.  Put in oven about 40 minutes to  cook at 475 convection roast.

It looks like a map... to deliciousness!
It looks like a map… to deliciousness!


Put 2 tablespoons of butter into the bottom of a pyrex dish.  Place into oven at 475 convection roast.  1 box jiffy corn bread mix, 3 eggs, 1 can of corn.  Stir together and let sit until butter is browned.  Take pyrex out of the oven and swirl the butter around.  Spray pan with additional canola to prevent sticking.  Pour batter into pan.  Reduce oven to 375.  After 15 minutes take cornbread out and stir the middle to incorporate.  Put back in the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes.  With middle still not set, stir the entire pan of cornbread, including the golden brown sides and bottom to incorporate the uncooked batter.  Serve with a spoon.



Have you ever noticed that the foods that are hyped as summer staples require a lot of time (and heat!) to prepare?  Grilled meats and oven baked sides are delicious.  But who wants to do that in August?  Not me.  No thanks.  So our spring menus feature summer favorites like barbecue (I have a lovely weber charcoal grill.) and roasted veggies.  It is still cool enough that running the oven doesn’t make the kitchen unbearable and we are all eager to be outside a few more minutes in the evening as the coals deliver up their tasty char.


*That’s what the barbecue sauce bottle says.