Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Of Chili and Charity

Wow -- I won first prize at our neighborhood block party's chili cook-off! I was quite pleased to win gift certificates to Chili's, hot pads, and a little pumpkin. I made a recipe I'd never tried before -- just searched for a fairly simple one on recipezaar and found Firehouse Chili. I didn't think it was fabulous, but it drew raves. The block party itself was pretty fun and the kids had a ball. I'm lucky to have some really great neighbors.

Last Sunday I went with my dad to Founder's Day at the Starr Commonwealth to hear Henry Winkler speak. I was mainly interested in him because he co-writes a series of children's books, rather than because he is a TV/movie star and producer. He was quite inspirational and entertaining. It was truly amazing to walk around the Starr campus and see how much it had changed since I'd been there last. My dad's great uncle Floyd Starr started the Commonwealth as a home for troubled boys in 1912, beginning with two boys. They lived in a barn until the first cottage was built. Starr now has a huge campus in that original location, along with four other campuses. I only met Uncle Floyd a few times while growing up, but he must have been quite a guy. They have something like an 88% success rate with troubled kids, focusing on building up self esteem rather than on punishment. Awesome.

Last week after R innocently said, "There aren't any poor people in Grand Rapids, are there mom?" I contacted the United Way about doing volunteer work as a family. I think we're going to start helping serve meals once a month or so at a local mission. I hope it will help my kids (and me!) appreciate how truly privileged we are.

Well, I've come back to the realization, once again, that I can't diet. I just can't do it. I end up face first in the ice cream carton every time I try. I know, I know -- you've heard it all before. Sigh. I'm finally reading the Food and Feelings workbook I bought a while ago, and finding it difficult to complete the exercises. I was perusing the chapter on anxiety and had a bit of a "duh!" moment though. She talks of using overeating as a way to distract yourself from your anxiety because instead of being anxious about whatever is bugging you, you transfer your anxiety to your body and how fat you feel and how disgusted you are that you just ate a dozen cookies (or whatever). I knew that I often felt like I wanted to eat when anxious, but I never really thought about the distraction part of it in that way. I've been practicing telling myself, "You can't change the situation -- you can only change your reaction to the situation".


Isabelle said...

What a wonderful idea - you're such a good mum. And a good cook, too!

Cyn said...

Congrats on your award-winning chili! I'm glad it's beginning to cool off so we can have chili more often... loads of fiber, ya know!

We enjoy the Hank Zipzer books.

And great idea about finding a volunteer opportunity for the family. 6thGrader has to do some community service as part of his Geography requirement this year. He hasn't decided what to do, but with the holidays coming up, I'm sure there will be plenty to choose from, although there are always opportunities.