Preparing with a Poem in my Pocket

It’s been a while but it’s still one of my favorite holidays of the year!

Agrigirl's Blog

The idea is simple. Find a poem that you love or one that makes you laugh or something that conjures up wistful memories. Write it down. Put it in your pocket and throughout the day, share it with your friends and your coworkers and the people in line at the coffee shop and the students in your class and your family at the dinner table and whoever else you come into contact with. It’s National Poetry Month. Read poetry.

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Sunday Morning Raw Reset

Do you have reset day? How about a reset date? Truth be told, we are all time travelers and seasonal creatures. Back to school signals something to us as does the start of a new year or the beginning of another week.


Apple-Lemon Breakfast Bowl


Family Dinners

The kid I have left at home has to be back in school in 6 short weeks. We have downloaded the reading list and he’s had 2 weeks at rowing camp. We are in the sweet lazy days of summer with an unstructured homework-free schedule.

One of the best parts of summer is that our dinner time routine stabilizes so that I can look everyone in the eye over a meal and assess how the day has gone. Why I take such personal pleasure in this is probably because it was part of my food and family heritage but now, there are some compelling reasons why we ought to hold onto this tradition and it’s not just for memory’s sake. Here are 10 strong reasons to hold them regularly:

Arhaus_familydinnertime_v041. Eating together enables you to pass along your food philosophies to your children and others. You can converse about eating locally and seasonally and the benefits of both.

2. Dinner conversation is important whether or not it is about food. Researchers at the West Virginia University Extension found that children increased their vocabulary at a more rapid rate when dining with their parents.

3. The same study found that children are more likely to incorporate fruits and vegetables into their eating habits than if their families ate meals on the fly.

4. A study from WebMD revealed that adolescents who had family meals at least 5 times per week were more likely to receive As and Bs than their colleagues who did not.

5. The same article advocates for family meal time rituals because of the studies that point to kids who are less likely to do drugs or get depressed. Check out the additional reasons for creating a family dinnertime!

6. Another piece of research claims to have conducted regression analyses on a myriad of factors from a population of Rhode Scholars. Although, I am not able to source it, the single common variable identifying them as a Rhode Scholar? Their participation in family meals.

7. Eating together allows the opportunity to prepare a meal together giving the life skill of cooking and perhaps mastery of a few recipes.

8. Family dinner does not have to be fancy or predictable. How about a picnic on the lawn after a swim meet? What is predictable is the routine of having the meal and that can give children a sense of security that builds confidence.

9. Family meals give us the opportunity to raise more considerate children. Through meal guidelines and the enforcement of manners, children are prepared for dining out at the homes of others or in restaurants. Make a list of your basic dinner rules such as using please and thank you, saying a dinner blessing or no television. Break up the chores such as setting the table, filling water glasses or cleaning up afterwards.

10. If dinners are truly difficult due to varying schedules and availability, try breakfast together each day. Set up a schedule in advance so that everyone understands when they’re expected to be home for meal time. The real benefit of holding this ritual is that it becomes part of the definition of your family. It can build a loving trusting relationship amongst you and your kids and between your children.

Eating as a family can be an unfamiliar transition for busy parents and kids who don’t do it regularly and are used to eating on the go. If your family is trying to create a new tradition of gathering around the table for meals, one of the biggest challenges parents may encounter is keeping their children comfortable enough to sit still for the duration of a meal and conversation. If your children are fidgeting throughout meals, it may be worthwhile to consider dining sets with an aligned seat to table height ratio.

What tricks and tips do you have or need that enable you to hold regular family meals?

New, Happy Year

It doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as easily as it might if the words were rearranged but that’s because it is unfamiliar and yes, it is new.


Photo credit to Unnar Ýmir Björnsson


Planning Ahead

The list of things that I intend to accomplish in 2017 is vast. There’s a qualifying paper for my PhD, kids in transition, summer excursions, bodies to get into shape, education reform that needs leadership, friends to catch up with, and plenty of fun to be had. It takes some planning.img_5716 (more…)

Party on a Plate

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday; family and friends, good food, fellowship, no gifts.I think it’s that last piece that I find so freeing. I’ve never been a good shopper, don’t enjoy it as a way to socialize – heck, just ask my family – when they do receive gifts, sometimes they’re not even wrapped!fullsizeoutput_1bd1


The Glint of Light

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass” – Anton Chekhov

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Spiralizing and the Sharing Economy

In my grandmother’s kitchen there was a gadget for everything. Can’t retrieve the pickle from the bottom of the jar? Use the pickle poker. From lemon squeezers to cherry pitters to olive forks and corn handles, there was a specific use for everything and the appropriate sized baking dish to accompany it.IMG_5052.jpg


Kinda Like the Walking Dead


Top of the Cask. Dos Cabezas Tasting Room, Sonoita, AZ

“It’s sort of like watching one of those TV series. You know, like the Sopranos or the Walking Dead. You watch it, you like it, but every season, somebody’s gonna die.”