Monday, September 28, 2009

Horror: My Little Pony 2009

Have you walked through the toy section lately? Hasbro has redesigned the regular My Little Pony line and the result is a pony-like alien species sporting big frying-pan eyes, lollipop heads, skinny bodies and overall nothing like the originals. I'm very, very bothered by this. Their faces are smashed in, as if to appear more humanoid because, of course, it's every little girl's dream that ponies will look more like human babies with four legs and 0% body fat. Oh yeah, the torso of the ponies has shrunk down to almost nothing. Their ankles have more width than their mid-section. I am disgusted.

Why should I care so much? My 5-year-old is a MLP fanatic. She mostly collects the Ponyville series which are miniature ponies with little houses and accessories (surely taking after The Littlest Pet Shop) but she also has a lot of original MLP from the 1980s and a few ponies from recent years. The subliminal messages she would get from these revamped ponies is not one of natural beauty, humility and health--these new ponies, if that's what they even are, tell little girls to dumb-it-down, strive for a waistline tinier than an ankle, wear too much eye make-up, make sure your pupils are always dilated to the point of no return (and you know what it takes to dilate pupils...), be annoyingly cheerful 24/7 no matter how you really feel inside, be obnoxious about being "cute", in fact, be OBSESSED with it. The list could go on. You could even say the smashed-in pony muzzles might send the message to girls that having a nose is only for ugly people.

The original ponies (as above) were not malnourished, happy-go-lucky idiots. They looked, well, nice. They looked gentle and calm. Their proportions were closer to normal if not chubbier than a real-life pony. This was charming, lovable, respectable and marketable because they looked like ponies while maintaining a delicate cartoony quality that made them a toy instead of just a figurine.
A most important aspect of the originals was their inherent humility. Humility is no longer a virtue for kids these days. They don't even know they're being robbed of this crucial personality trait. It is evident in today's popular toys. Show me a current popular toy that looks humble. Show me a current popular toy that looks sober even. Show me a doll that doesn't have giant eyes and dilated pupils surrounded by inexplicable crystalline sparkles.
I don't have a new pony in front of me but if I did I could pinpoint even more disgusting changes. Go to the toy section and take a look for yourself.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

School Lunch Dilemma

At Raquel's school, the cafeteria can only accomodate so many students, so each grade goes into lunch at different times and each group is ushered out to make room for the next group. This is a problem for me because Raquel is a SLOW eater. At first, the lunch lady was tossing Raquel's uneaten food in the trash, so I enclosed a little note requesting that any leftovers be kept in the lunch box--this is so I could see what Raquel had eaten. Turns out she's not eating that much. There is nobody around to make sure she eats enough. Jose wants me to give up on making her lunch and just let her eat school food. I don't want to resort to this, even if it is just one meal a day. All they serve is pizza, chicken nuggets and hamburgers. Making her lunch myself gives me a sense of accomplishment--that's me being selfish, I know. But I would feel like I'm not doing my part if I let Raquel eat the crappy food her school serves.
There aren't many things I have control over. I don't have much say in what happens to my kid at school. I trust she is getting a good education but I don't trust the school's way of doing lunch. Do I relinquish what little control I have on this issue until Raquel is a little older (and hungrier)? (that is a picture of Raquel's lunch today. I packed less food.)
When I was a kid I got white bread, white rice, processed cheese, lunch meat---these were everyday parts of my diet. My mom made dinner for us every night, including some kind of vegetable or salad but we ate a lot of unhealthy stuff. This was in the 1980s. Back then we didn't have as much information available to us about nutrition as we do now. My children are pretty much damned to have pot bellies or huge asses, not to mention high blood pressure, because of heredity. I would like to do whatever I can to prevent this. Right now, that means feeding them a well-balanced and varied diet to get them started out right. When they're older they will eat what they want but I will have done my part.
About her education, I know she has a good teacher. Raquel has learned the days of the week already and she's only been in school for 5 days. She goes around the house singing the songs her teacher has taught the class. I enjoy hearing her sing these songs.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Daddy Bento #3

Other than this beautiful bento box lunch I made for Jose today, I am feeling like a failure. This whole post could be a spewage of negative thoughts so ttfn.
p.s. my camera does no justice to the things it photographs. Sorry!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

So Proud of Our Raquel

I do not ask this child to make faces for the camera, I swear! She just does it on her own. Jose said when he opened the girls' bedroom door this morning to get Raquel up and ready for her first day of Kindergarten, she was already awake, stood up, smiled, opened her eyes wide and nodded her head like, let's do this!

Jose, who drove her to school today, said he sensed she was a little nervous. I think that shows maturity on her part. She has every right to feel unsure of what's going to happen and I'm kinda proud that she recognized that this was a special day-- the beginning of her new life as a student.

When she got home from school she was full of energy, actually on the hyper side. I made her favorite meal (macaroni & cheese with hotdogs) before I left for class. Then at about 8:30 she asked Daddy if she could go to bed. Her busy day had finally caught up with her. So Daddy put her to bed.

We know it's just kindergarten but we're really proud of her for being such a big girl and I think part of it, also, is that we have a lot of hope that she's gonna do big things in her future. She's a great kid.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What I Did With Quail Eggs

Tonight I made Scotch Eggs with quail eggs instead of chicken eggs. They were pretty good but next time I'll cut out about half the onions, skip the nutmeg, add Worchestershire and wrap them in bacon. These were fun and easy to make. I will make them again some day but my way. I got this recipe from (thanks!). I was going to put one in Raquel's lunch if she enjoyed them at dinner tonight but I could tell it was a food she needed to be encouraged to finish. So her lunch won't include a Scotch Egg tomorrow since I won't be in the cafeteria with her to make sure she eats it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Cooking For Kindergarten

Raquel has "three more sleeps" until she gets to start kindergarten. She is VERY excited. Her school hours will be the same as the big kids, which is about 7 hours a day with each Monday being a short day, only about 5 hours. Wednesday night we are going to a kindergarten orientation. I'm looking forward to that. I am also looking forward to sending Raquel to school with some good stuff for lunch-- stuff I tested on her this weekend after our totally fun shopping spree at the Asian Supermarket. She loved everything!

I have prepared/cooked/assembled/portioned-out and stored in the freezer the following:

  • onigiri
  • spring rolls
  • banana coconut muffins
  • swirl cookies
  • purple satoimo noodle nests with slices of pink fish cake (so girly!)
  • brown rice
  • fried poached tofu cutlets
And there is more where that came from. Her lunches will not always be of the Asian kind. But if you've ever been to an Asian market you know there are so many cute and fun things to buy and make--just perfect for creating bento meals. And the prices are right, especially for produce.

Look how cute Raquel looks in bowling shoes! We bowled this afternoon at the fancy 300 Pasadena bowling alley. We had never been there before and will probably not be going back until we're rich. That is the most expensive 2 games of bowling I have ever seen. And the service sucked. I don't think management planned on having such a busy day on this Labor Day (hello?!) and only one server/lane assistant was working the entire 24 occupied lanes while the bartender stood alone behind her bar without a thing to do. Something not right there.
P.S. Raquel bowled better than me.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Today's "Daddy Bento"

A "Daddy Bento" is a lunch I make for Jose to take to work on Saturdays (and sometimes Sundays) when he has an open house to do for a house he is selling. He has been trying to sell a really nice house in Arcadia for about two months now and it is having a very hard time catching an interested buyer. The problem? Feng shui, believe it or not. It is situated on a "T", meaning the cross street is directly in front of the house. Jose doesn't know the first thing about feng shui--all he knows is that people who come to view the house always mention it's bad feng shui. I read a book on feng shui 5 years ago, just for fun. I thought is was quite fascinating. I retained some of the knowledge and have tried to explain briefly to Jose the problem people have with the house. It doesn't matter if feng shui is "real" or not, if someone believes in it, it is real to them. Anywho...
In this bento, there is a tuna sandwich on whole wheat, some pickle slices, cheddar cheese slices, homemade swirl cookies you saw in yesterday's post, a hardboiled egg with salt and pepper, and some green "spinach flavour" noodles stirfried with asparagus and teriyaki sauce. I think he's really going to like this. I was just thinking about how much it costed to make this meal. I'm guessing less than a dollar. Wow!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Baking in This Heat?!

Yes, it is still summer and I baked today. What a weirdo. It's nice to get back into the swing of things in the kitchen after not having baked since early June. This recipe came from an old Farm Journal cookie cookbook. I have had great results with some of the recipes while others, like this one, are far more effort than they're worth. These are pretty bland as far as flavor and texture. But they're good enough to keep in the freezer and use to pack Raquel's lunchbox. P.S. Raquel made one of those on that cookie sheet ;)