Scarlett of Suburbia

Field Notes from The Motherhood


October 2010

Menu Plan for Week of 10/31/10 to 11/6/10

Sunday 10/31

B/ Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Toast and OJ

L/ Crockpot Country-Style BBQ Ribs, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

D/ Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad, Halloween Candy


Monday 11/1

B/ Pancakes with Fresh Strawberries and Bananas, Milk

L/ Leftover Spaghetti Meatballs in Thermos; Orange Slices,

S/ Cereal with Milk

D/ Fishsticks, Baked Acorn Squash with Maple Syrup Butter, Corn


Tuesday 11/2

B/ PBJ or Egg McMuffin; OJ

L/ Annies Tomato Pasta, Whole Wheat Bread, Honeycrisp Apple, Gingersnap Cookies

S/ Strawberry Banana Smoothie

D/ Kid’s Favorite Roasted Chicken with Gravy, PW Corn Pudding, Sauteed Broccoli Rabe


Wednesday 11/3

B/ Extreme Granola, Greek Yogurt, Honey

L/ BLT Wraps, Sea Salt Pita Chips, Santa Cruz Organic Apple-Blackberry Sauce

S/ Banana Chocolate Chip Bread (make 2, freeze 1)

D/ Shrimp Enchiladas with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips,


Thursday 11/4

B/ Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole, OJ

L/ Deconstructed Chef’s Salad (cubed turkey, ham, cheddar, shred lettuce, baby tomatoes), Ritz Crackers, Smooshed Fruit Organic Rollups, Brownies

S/ Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies, Milk

D/ Baked Ziti, Haricot Vert Tossed in Butter and Sea Salt


Friday 11/5

B/ Peanut Butter, Banana Date Sandwiches or Banana Bread (from Weds)

L/ Leftovers

S/ Vanilla Milkshakes

D/ Coca-Cola Ham and Garnet Yams with Maple Sugar Streusel, Creamed Spinach


Saturday 11/6

B/ Breakfast Bar Free-for-All

L/ Croques Monsieur Sandwiches (w Leftover Ham; no kirsch pls), Broccoli & Cheese or Tomato Soup

S/ Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies, Milk

D/ Pizza Night 🙂



On the Magic of Fairies

The 4 y.o. (dressed as Tinkerbell): Daddy, I want to be carried back to the car.
The Dad: Don’t you know that fairies can fly?
The 4 y.o.: Hello?! Remember – I left my wings in the car.

I’m sick, my throat hurts and I need two things: a whiteboard and a bell to call you with.

The ailing 12 y.o.

Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything

If you want to be really good at something, it’s going to involve relentlessly pushing past your comfort zone, along with frustration, struggle, setbacks and failures. That’s true as long as you want to continue to improve, or even maintain a high level of excellence. The reward is that being really good at something you’ve earned through your own hard work can be immensely satisfying.

Here, then, are the six keys to achieving excellence we’ve found are most effective for our clients:

  1. Pursue what you love. Passion is an incredible motivator. It fuels focus, resilience, and perseverance.
  2. Do the hardest work first. We all move instinctively toward pleasure and away from pain. Most great performers, Ericsson and others have found, delay gratification and take on the difficult work of practice in the mornings, before they do anything else. That’s when most of us have the most energy and the fewest distractions.
  3. Practice intensely, without interruption for short periods of no longer than 90 minutes and then take a break. Ninety minutes appears to be the maximum amount of time that we can bring the highest level of focus to any given activity. The evidence is equally strong that great performers practice no more than 4 ½ hours a day.
  4. Seek expert feedback, in intermittent doses. The simpler and more precise the feedback, the more equipped you are to make adjustments. Too much feedback, too continuously, however, can create cognitive overload, increase anxiety, and interfere with learning.
  5. Take regular renewal breaks. Relaxing after intense effort not only provides an opportunity to rejuvenate, but also to metabolize and embed learning. It’s also during rest that the right hemisphere becomes more dominant, which can lead to creative breakthroughs.
  6. Ritualize practice. Will and discipline are wildly overrated. As the researcher Roy Baumeister has found, none of us have very much of it. The best way to insure you’ll take on difficult tasks is to ritualize them — build specific, inviolable times at which you do them, so that over time you do them without having to squander energy thinking about them.

On Spooky Jobs

The 4 y.o.: Happy Halloween Mom! Today’s the Halloween party at school. I’m going as Tinkerbell. What are you going as?
The Mom: A Managing Director.
The 4 y.o.: Ooo! That’s scaarrryy! What’s a Managing Director?

Study: 62 percent of new car buyers are 50+

JD Power and Associates studied age as it corresponds to new vehicle purchases, and the results of a survey of 41,000 new vehicle buyers showed that 62 percent of all new cars and trucks sold were delivered to the AARP crowd. Alarmingly, this statistic has spiked up dramatically from 39 percent back in 2001. Our parents and grandparents are also picking up hybrids faster than their children, as 73 percent of all battery-assisted vehicle sales are picked up by those over 50. On the other side of the spectrum, those 35 and younger account for just 12.7 percent of all new vehicle purchases, down from 24.4 percent in 2001.

There are two major reasons the 50-and-up club accounts for such a high total of vehicle sales, lead by the fact that baby boomers, the largest demographic in America, are growing old. But AARP director Mark Bradbury adds that people over 50 have the “ability to spend on higher-ticket items during harsh economic times. Younger adults are moving back home to ease basic financial burdens, such as housing and food.” It sure is hard to buy a new car when you’re back living with Mom and Dad, but hey, maybe they’ll let you borrow theirs.

As much as people whinge about new car advertising being directed at the AARP crowd, the data continues to prove that they are largely the only ones buying new cars.

Menu Plan for Week of 10/24/10 to 10/30/10

Sunday 10/24

Breakfast: Eggs Benedict Bread Pudding, Hash Browns, Juice

Lunch: BBQ Pulled Pork on a Bun, Cinnamon Apples, Steamed Corn

Snack:  Apples & Peanut Butter (or Cheddar Cubes)

Dinner: Roasted Chicken w Herb Butter (make 2), Parsnips, Carrots and Stuffing, Figs with Honey-Orange Marscarpone (no nuts pls)


Monday 10/25

Breakfast: Overnight Oatmeal, Ovaltine

Lunch: Chicken Salad Wraps (or w Crackers), Red Grapes, Celery Sticks,

Snack:   Mini-Ice Cream Sundae Cones

Dinner: Roasted Butternut Squash, Rosemary and Garlic Lasagne,  Romaine Leaves w Crumbled Maytag Blue Cheese. FHE Activity: Make Chunky Date, Coconut and Almond Granola


Tuesday 10/26 

Breakfast: Chunky Date, Coconut and Almond Granola, Vanilla Yogurt, Berries, Honey

Lunch: Turkey Pinwheels, Apples w Caramel Sauce, Ginger Snaps, Vanilla Pudding

Snack: Pita Chip Mix: Baked Pita Chips, Peanuts, Mini Choc Chips

Dinner: Rib-Eye Steaks w Onion Rings, Salt & Pepper Oven Fries and Edamame


Wednesday 10/27

Breakfast: BLAs (Bagels, Lox, Avocados), Fruit Smoothie

Lunch: Sliced Steak on Arugula, Potato Chips, Orange Slices, Oreos

Snack:  Chocolate Milkshakes

Dinner: Poached Salmon Filets w Watercress Mayonnaise, Corn Pudding, Steamed Carrots


Thursday 10/28

Breakfast: Mozzarella and Tomato Sauce Omelets, Toast, Juice

Lunch: Cream Cheese and Jam Sandwiches, Pretzel Sticks, Sugar Snap Peas, Brownies

Snack: Snack Mix: Almonds, MnM’s and Dried Mango Chunks

Dinner: Stuffed Pork Loin Roast, Mashed-Potato Casserole w Gouda and Bacon, Apple Crumble and Vanilla Ice Cream


Friday 10/29

Breakfast: Good Day Pear Crisp, Milk

Lunch:  Leftovers

Snack: Banana Bread

Dinner: Irish Corned Beef and Vegetables, Boiled New Potatoes, Steamed Cabbage


Saturday 10/30

Breakfast: Panera Bagels, Leftover Fruit, Milk or OJ

Lunch: Grilled Corned Beef and Fontina Sandwiches, Baked Potato Chips, Dill Pickles

Snack: Mini Pretzels, Cashews and Dried Cranberries Mix

Dinner: Spaghetti and Meatballs, Garlic Toast, Pear, Arugula and Pancetta Salad




Mom, my Loving Family has gone ghetto.

The 12 y.o. noticing her beloved Fisher Price set has aged considerably over the past decade thanks to her younger sisters

The Four Capacities Every Great Leader Needs (and Very Few Have) | Fast Company

Over the last dozen years, I’ve worked with scores of CEOs and senior executives to help them build more engaged, high performance cultures by energizing their employees. Along the way, I’ve landed on four key capacities that show up, to one degree or another, in the most inspiring leaders I’ve met.

1. Great leaders recognize strengths in us that we don’t always yet fully see in ourselves.

This is precisely what Kosner did with me. He provided belief where I didn’t yet have it, and I trusted his judgment more than my own. It’s the Pygmalion effect: expectations become self-fulfilling.

Both positive and negative emotions feed on themselves. In the absence of Kosner’s confidence, I simply wouldn’t have assumed I was ready to write at that level.

Because he seemed so sure I could–he saw better than I did how my ambition and relentlessness would eventually help me prevail–I wasted little energy in corrosive worry and doubt.

Instead, I simply invested myself in getting better, day by day, step by step. Because we can achieve excellent in almost anything we practice with sufficient focus and intention, I did get better, which fed my own confidence and satisfaction, and my willingness to keep pushing myself.

2. Rather than simply trying to get more out of us, great leaders seek to understand and meet our needs, above all a compelling mission beyond our immediate self-interest, or theirs.

Great leaders understand that how they make people feel, day in and day out, has a profound influence on how they perform.

We each have a range of core needs–physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Great leaders focus on helping their employees meet each of these needs, recognizing that it helps them to perform better and more sustainably.

Arthur Gelb helped my meet not just my emotional need to be valued, but also my spiritual need to be engaged in a mission bigger than my own success. Far too few leaders take the time to figure out what they truly stand for, beyond the bottom line, and why we should feel excited to work for them.

3. Great leaders take the time to clearly define what success looks like, and then empower and trust us to figure out the best way to achieve it.

One of our core needs is for self-expression. One of the most demoralizing and infantilizing experiences at work is to feel micromanaged.

The job of leaders is not to do the work of those they lead, but to serve as Chief Energy Officer — to free and fuel us to bring the best of ourselves to work every day.

Part of that responsibility is defining, in the clearest possible way, what’s expected of us–our concrete deliverables. This is a time-consuming and challenging process, and most leaders I’ve met do very little of it. When they do it effectively, the next step for leaders is to get out of the way.

That requires trusting that employees will figure out for themselves the best way to get their work done, and that even though they’ll take wrong turns and make mistakes, they learn and grow stronger along the way.

4. The best of all leaders–a tiny fraction–have the capacity to embrace their own opposites, most notably vulnerability alongside strength, and confidence balanced by humility.

This capacity is uniquely powerful because all of us struggle, whether we’re aware of it or not, with our self worth. We’re each vulnerable to believing, at any given moment, that we’re not good enough.

Great leaders don’t feel the need to be right, or to be perfect, because they’ve learned to value themselves in spite of shortcomings they freely acknowledge. In turn, they bring this generous spirit to those they lead.

The more leaders make us feel valued, in spite of our imperfections, the less energy we will spend asserting, defending and restoring our value, and the more energy we have available to create value.

All four capacities are grounded in one overarching insight. Great leaders recognize that the best way to get the highest value is to give the highest value.

Brilliant insights.

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