Pi Day Pizza

Pizza

For those who don’t know, Pi is a mathematical number, equaling 3.14 when rounded. March is the 3rd month and today is the 14th day of the month, so voila, Pi Day. You can find more details on Pi Day here.

You are probably thinking that my family and I made pizza pies today in honor of Pi Day. Well, you are wrong. If it weren’t for the snow day I would’ve been working until 6:15p so ain’t nobody got time for making homemade pizza on a weeknight. Our tribute to Pi day was to eat the final slices left from pizzas that we made over the weekend.

…I know, I know, that was a stretch. Let’s be straightforward, you are reading this article for the recipe and not for the backstory…

Since the hustle and busy of our weekdays do not allow for a lot of family time, I try to maximize our time over the weekend. Quality family time is important for children’s overall development, socialization/social skills development, and mental health. We also use these times to build on existing math skills (e.g. counting scoops of ingredients), science knowledge (such as going from liquid to solid states, how certain ingredients affect the outcome, etc.), and fine motor skills.

But most importantly we love pizza. By making it ourselves we know exactly what ingredients and how much of those ingredients are going in. This way we have a much better idea of what is going into our bodies. Healthy bodies, healthy minds.  Alright, on to the recipe.

Pizza Dough

I used this recipe by Bobby Flay. I used 4 cups of flour and ended up using at least 2 cups of water. I mixed and kneaded by hand rather than using the food processor and my bread maker. Since it is cold here in Maryland getting the dough to rise properly was an issue. A trick I used to help the dough to rise was warming my oven to the lowest setting possible, turning off the oven once it reached temperature, and then put the dough (still inside of the bowl and covered) on top of a sheet pan in the oven.

Pizza Sauce (bear with me again, I didn’t measure anything so these are rough estimates)

1 32oz can of pizza sauce

1.5tsp black pepper (freshly ground)

2tbsps parsley (dried; if using fresh use at least 3tbsps)

1.5tbsps oregano (dried; if using fresh use 2tbsps)

1tbsp Italian seasoning

garlic (5 cloves)

one handful of fresh basil (or about 2tbsps if using dried)

Mix all of the ingredients together and set aside. I did this right after I made the dough. Allowing it to sit gives the seasonings a chance to get to know each other (i.e., it enhances the flavor).

Pie Assembly

Toppings: mozzarella cheese (fresh, and sliced or grated), sausage (ground and cooked), black olives, Kalamata olives, green peppers, pepperoni, tomatoes

Grease the baking sheet with olive oil. Stretch the dough onto the baking sheet (we were able to make 2 large pizzas and one medium sized pizza from this dough). First top with the pizza sauce mixture and be sure not to put too much. Then layer whatever toppings you like but save the cheese for last. Bake in a 425 degree Farenheit oven for about 23 minutes for the large pizzas and about 20 minutes for the medium pizza or until the crust is golden brown. Allow to cool slightly. Slice and enjoy!!

By the way, I realize that the use of sausage and pepperoni flies in the face of healthy eating. First, I never said this was a healthy recipe. You can certainly swap out sausage and pepperoni for chicken or mushrooms (and we sometimes do). Second, I am a big believer in moderation and balance. Do we eat like this everyday? No. Do we even eat like this every weekend? No. It is okay to indulge in some of these less healthy ingredients as long as it is not a regular habit. Moderation and balance, people!!

Mom’s Mix-n-Mingle with Mom’s Need Prayer Too, LLC

Attention all Moms!! I’ll be at the Mom’s Mix-n-Mingle, hosted by Mom’s Need Prayer Too, LLC this SATURDAY, JUNE 25, 2016 from 11:00am to 2:00p at 6427 Crain Highway, Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772. Feel free to come by to ask me questions about mental health, psychotherapy, and assessment.

MomsMixnMingle

Additionally, professionals will be on hand to talk with you about job/career development, education, finances, beauty, breastfeeding, medical health, prayer/spiritual guidance, and much more. I’m looking forwarding to meeting you!!

 

 

 

Speak On It: Glitter Bottle During Time Out

People Hands Holding Red Straight Word TimeoutThere’s a strategy going around about using a “Glitter Bottle” (read: homemade snow globe) to give kids as a distraction during a time out for inappropriate behavior.

You can read about it here on the website LiftBump.

My thoughts:
(1) No talking during time out. That’s why it’s time out.
(2) No fun things in time out. That’s why it’s time out.

The purpose of time out is to separate the child’s inappropriate behavior from reinforcement. By reinforcement I mean anything that will make the problematic behavior continue. You talking. Fun shiny objects. TV. A sticker on the wall. If these types of rewarding things are available during time out, the time out then becomes an okay place to be. Or maybe even fun.

A child in time out or in trouble

Use a timer instead of a glitter bottle. Any timer, clock, sand timer, etc. Just make sure it is not fun. Keep it plain and ordinary. And save the homemade snow globe for play time.

Speak On It: Parents Shaming Their Kids on the Internet

shameOh, the internet. When used for the forces of good, it has brought us closer together by allowing us to converse with people literally half way around the world. But then there are the times it is used for the forces of evil.

For some reason some parents feel like the internet is a great place to post video of themselves “disciplining” their children. I can’t even stomach these videos. When I see them being shared by others I do not click through. In my opinion, it is bullying and not discipline. It is well-known the frontal lobes (area of the brain responsible for executive function, or coordinated planning and decision making) are not fully developed until the early 20s. Why some parents feel that putting a child’s mistakes on blast for the whole world to see is beyond me. I’m pretty sure those same parents would never want for their past childhood mistakes to go viral for everyone to see, garnering thousands upon thousands of likes. This article provides a great discussion of parental use of the internet to shame their children.

Please remember, our job as parents is to protect, educate, and love our children. Not to humiliate them.

Speak On It: Stomp Three Times on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

Introducing a new segment on my blog I’d like to call, “Speak On It”. This is where I will briefly voice my thoughts on a topic, website, article, video, research study, or anything else really, that catches my attention (read: I can’t keep my opinion to myself on it and feel compelled to vent publicly).

I’d like to take a few moments to speak on this video. It confuses me as a parent. It confuses me even more as a therapist. I get that the point is to encourage the child to get his/her feelings out in an appropriate way. I just don’t think that stomping on the ground–a behavior often associated with tantrumming–is an appropriate coping mechanism. I would much rather see this video direct children to do isometrics or progressive muscle relaxation. This allows the child to get some of the frustration out physically without engaging in tantrum-like behavior. Of course, deep breathing should be used along with these relaxation techniques. Followed up with some good ol’ fashioned high quality labeled praise to let the child know he/she did a good job in controlling his or her frustration.

I do like Daniel Tiger’s take on potty training: Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: When You Have To Go Potty

See an article or video about a topic and you want to know my opinion? Submit it below so I can Speak On It!!

Old School vs New School Parenting, Part I

Old, used and obsolete electronic equipment

We hear a lot about how progressive our society has gotten. Millennials taking over and changing the work force. The latest and greatest tech gadgets at everyone’s fingertips. Not to mention all of the social change that is happening. What about parenting styles? Has the way we raise our children changed along with the times? Or do you, like your parents before you (and your grandparents before them!!) still use those old school phrases?

Those phrases your Mom or your Dad said to you and you promised yourself up and down you would never, ever, ever repeat. Like, EVER. I know I did.

Set realistic Monitors laptop tablet and phone

I’m of Haitian descent. Both my parents were born in Haiti, so I’m a first generation American to be exact. I like to say I’m Haitian by blood and American by location. And to anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting someone of Caribbean descent, you know that we are a vibrant, animated, strong, and stubborn people. I like to think that Caribbean people invented old school parenting. There’s no such thing as helicopter parenting to a Haitian–it’s just how parenting is done. So I’ve decided to give a few examples of how some classic, old school phrases were used in my home growing up, and give a new school spin on it. (Disclaimer: But please keep in mind, as new school as I may be, I reserve all right to go old school on my 2 little boys. So no calling me out if you happen to overhear me saying one of these old school phrases to my young sons…it’s the Haitian in me coming out.)

1. “Because I said so…”

My three siblings and I most often heard this when we asked to go hang out with friends. “May I go to the skate park with Debbie?” (Names have been changed to protect the innocent.) “No” would be the reply from one of our parents. They were equally old school so it really doesn’t matter which parent I name here and in the other examples. If I was feeling particularly lucky, I’d push and ask, “How come?” With a steely look which in and of itself indicated I should back down, my Mom or my Dad would slowly say, “Because I said so.” Nuff said. At that point I would just walk away and live to fight another day. The problem is this old school phrase misses out on a valuable teachable moment, instead relying on blind obedience. Sometimes kids assume their parents have no justifiable reason for saying “no” and therefore go ahead and do it anyway. Sometimes the rather naive child doesn’t realize the skate park is known to be a hot spot for illicit activity–something parents often do end up finding out. (Although I could never muster up enough gumption to do such a thing, I’ve had many a teenager tell me in session how he/she snuck out anyway. And a lot of the time the parents find out anyway.) New school response: “I trust you and Debbie to make the right decisions, but no you may not go to the skate park because there have been several incidents of the police showing up there because of what the kids were doing. It is not a place you should be hanging out.”

2. “Do as I say, not as I do.”

I have to admit this old school saying never really made sense to me growing up. Why parents would tell their children to ignore their own bad behavior and instead do what their parent is saying is beyond me. The phrase is a textbook example of the word hypocrisy. Taken from Merriam-Webster’s website, hypocrisy is defined as “the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do : behavior that does not agree with what someone claims to believe or feel.” The phrase, “you lead by example” is true in business, in battle, and in parenting (because parenting is like negotiating a business deal and fighting against an enemy at the same time). New school response: “I know you’ve seen me act in some inconsistent ways. I promise from this point forward to be a better example for you to follow. So no, you are not allowed to eat the whole bag of chips, but I will no longer be eating a whole bag at one sitting either. Here, let’s go make some individual serving bags together.”

3. “I’ll give you something to cry about.”

Yeah, so this one is doubly harsh. First, this old school parenting saying implies that whatever the child is already crying about doesn’t actually warrant tears. It is hugely important to not invalidate a child’s feelings. Well, it is hugely important to not invalidate anyone’s feelings, but that’s a whole other blog topic for another day. Children need to know that it is normal for them to feel upset or sad about a situation not going their way. As parents it is our responsibility to help them learn how to appropriately manage those feelings rather than teaching them to stifle, suppress, or ignore their emotions. Instead, teach the child about big versus little emotions and when it is appropriate to react in a big versus little way. Second, is it just me, or does this statement imply that some type of physical repercussion is coming if the child doesn’t pull it together? Maybe it is because Haitian culture is very much a “spare the rod, spoil the child” type of society, but I know that in my parents’ house that statement meant a spanking was coming. And as high as my tolerance for pain is, I was never one to test whether my parent was going to make good on that promise. New school response: “I’m sorry you are upset by what I said. I understand it means a lot to you, but at this time I cannot let you go outside to play since it is time to get washed up for dinner. And maybe if we can finish up with dinner early enough, you can go outside to play. But if not, you can go outside tomorrow after your nap.”

Okay, okay, I need to come clean about something. I’ve already used the old school parenting phrase, “because I said so.” My not yet three-year-old was insisting on watching Monster’s Inc. for the fourth time in one day. He was quite persistent and more than just a tad whiny, and my 9-month-old was trying to command my attention as all 9-month-olds do (read: by crying). So that good ol’ phrase just rolled off my tongue just as smooth and easy as butter. Once I realized what I had said, and after briefly pausing to wait for the tantrum I was certain was coming from my almost three-year-old (but didn’t), I quickly back tracked. I told him that I know how much he loves the movie and how much he really, really wants to watch it again. I went on to tell him that it was time to turn off the tv and start winding down before bath and bedtime. Since he absolutely loves a bath, turning off the tv was not a hard sell. And he didn’t tantrum. So even if you happen to let an old school parenting saying fly, just shake off that eerie feeling of knowing you have become your parents, admit your error, and try again with a new school approach.

Now’s your turn!! In the comments section below tell me about a time when you turned into your parents and went old school on your kids.