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9 Unforgettable Things My Mother Taught Me

9 Unforgettable Things My Mother Taught Me

In this chaotic and somewhat unpredictable world, filled with the stress of daily living, every woman can face challenges every day. Like never before, women fulfill multiple roles; at home, in the workplace, and in their personal lives. I sometimes refer to the current society as the “age of the superwoman” because of the high expectations placed on women.

In honor of my mother, whose birthday would have been January 31st, I am writing about some of the basic things she taught me that continue to help me survive in the world.

My mother was Miriam Eleanor Bresnahan, born in 1920. She was first and foremost a homemaker. She raised a family of seven children and was married to my father, Leo, a railroader, for 63 years. She passed away in 2010. She was 90 years old.

    Miriam Eleanor Bresnahan

    My mom was the emotional center of our large family. Each of us told her any problems we were having, but we also shared all our joys with her. She was an amazing parent and a dear sweet wife. She lived her days unselfishly devoted to the needs and dreams of her children.

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    She raised all of us (one boy and six girls) to be independent, to think for ourselves, and to work hard. She was tough, but gentle, critical but understanding, disciplined, but free spirited. I remember coming home for college and being amazed how she embraced an ever changing world by appreciating modern music and even dancing to it.

    Miriam was born in 1920 and grew up dirt poor, but then her life was transformed when she fell in love. I watched her grow and change over the years, and have enthusiasm for every single thing her children were involved in. She was beautiful, artistic, loved decorating, collecting figurines, crafts and sewing, and most importantly, she was a wonderful cook.

    She had a magnetism that no one could resist. She was loving and was loved very deeply. She had a way of winning people over, and when someone came into her home, they automatically became, in that instant, part of the family. To say she was supportive is an understatement. She was completely devoted to her children and her husband all her life. She was amazing.

      Miriam and Leo Bresnahan on their wedding day.

      Here are 9 important things my mother taught me:

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      1. Always do your best, no matter what you do

      She always encouraged us to participate in activities at church and school. We were encouraged to try and to try hard at everything.

      2. Speak up – your opinion counts

      I guess in a large family it just becomes a way of life to speak up, otherwise you might not be heard at all. But, mom valued everything we had to say and made us feel like our opinions always mattered.

      3. If you start something, finish it

      Whatever we did, or tried to do, she made it very clear that we didn’t give up. We learned determination that guided us all to become achievers in school and in life.

      4. You have talent, so use it

      My mom delighted in finding out just what the talents of her children were. She encouraged us to do the things we were good at.

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      5. Love your neighbors and be good to others

      Growing up in a Catholic environment, it was easy to learn to love your neighbors and to be good to other people.

      6. Treat others how you want to be treated

      The golden rule was a way of life for all of us, and she made sure we understood that.

      7. Always be honest, no matter what happens

      This was a major lesson at home, which we carried out into the world. Honesty is always important.

      8. Life is too short for fighting; admit your mistakes

      If there was a conflict, we were always encouraged to be the first ones to admit we were sorry. We didn’t waste time fighting with each other.

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      9. Have faith in God and trust in His plan

      Having faith in God was something our lives were built upon. The importance of this faith is one thing I have found impossible to live without in my life. I will always trust that God has a plan for me, and this trust keeps my life in balance.

        Here I am with my mother, Miriam Elearnor Bresnahan, on her 90th Birthday.

        I honor my mother by remembering the things she taught me. I can only pray that I am as good a mother as she was. Hopefully this list will inspire other women, as well as men, to reflect upon the lessons they are teaching their children in today’s challenging and ever-changing world.

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        Karen Bresnahan

        Photographer/Writer/Artist

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        Published on April 30, 2021

        35 Easy And Healthy Dinner Ideas For Kids

        35 Easy And Healthy Dinner Ideas For Kids

        Parents jokingly say that the most challenging part about raising kids is deciding what’s for dinner. While it’s funny, there’s also a lot of truth to it. Kids can be picky. They love something one day and despise it the next. They also don’t care if something is healthy or not. And good luck ever getting dinner “right” if you have more than one kid. More kids equal more opinions.

        What can busy parents do to get their kids to eat healthy meals? How can mealtime be easier?

        First, you might be wondering if new recipes will even help. Picky eaters are good at refusing anything and everything. Kid-friendly meals won’t be beneficial if your child isn’t open to new things. Even kids that aren’t overly picky tend to shy away from new foods. Ironically, they also hate eating the same things over and over.

        So, what’s the best way to overcome meal-time frustration? Make it fun! Distract kids with a bit of creativity. They’ll be more likely to eat if everyone is relaxed and enjoying the meal.[1]

        Before I dive into the 35 dinner ideas for kids, here are some tips for getting young kids to eat and break out of that dinner rut.(Mayo Clinic: Children’s Nutrition: 10 Tips For Picky Eaters))

        1. Make Breakfast for Dinner – Switch things up by serving breakfast for dinner. Kids will love the surprise. Use fruit, bacon, and sausage to make it more filling. Some days can be exceedingly rough, so oatmeal and fruit can even be an option.
        2. Involve Them – Kids love to help and will be more excited to try the food they helped make. Touching and seeing the ingredients during the process can help your child become more familiar with them and ease their uncertainty. The biggest benefit is you’ll be spending time together, not to mention the value of learning to cook.
        3. Do Dinner Buffet-Style – Set food and toppings out on the table buffet-style and allow kids to dish up their plates. What works well for a buffet?[2] Tacos, pancakes, pizza, nachos, finger foods and chili are just a few of the many ideas out there. Don’t be afraid to come up with your own.
        4. Creative Presentation – Turning a meal into art is another way to get kids interested. Nothing makes food more interesting than when it looks like a face, flower, or boat. Get creative with how you present the food!
        5. Have Fun With Themes – The options here are endless. You could base it on your child’s favorite characters or focus on a different culture, region, or even history. This is a great way to introduce your child to how and what others around the world eat.
        6. Bribery – Sometimes, parents have to resort to shameless bribery to get kids to eat. It’s okay to use a little extra motivation to get kids to try something new.[3] We all need a boost now and then. Avoid using dessert as a motive to eat dinner, but what are some harmless bribes to try? For instance, stickers, temporary tattoos, extra screen time or bedtime book.

        Now, let’s get to the dinner ideas. Meal planning is just one more thing to do in an already busy day. This list of dinner recipes for kids can help. Remember, you can always make modifications to fit any dietary needs. These recipes are a good starting point and can give your tired brain a boost of creativity.

        1. Cheeseburger Pasta

          Children love pasta and cheeseburgers, so mix the two for an irresistible dinner for kids. Make it even better by using fun pasta shapes like shells or rotini twists.

          Get the recipe for this instant classic here.

          2. Tacos on a Stick

            Sticks make everything better when you’re a kid—so, why would dinner be any different? This meal doesn’t get any easier, either, scoring major points with parents. All you need are bamboo skewers and a few simple ingredients.

            Get the recipe here.

            3. Nacho Pizza

              This is another creative twist on two classic meals most kids will quickly devour. Go as crazy or as simple as you want with this quick dinner.

              Find the recipe here.

              4. Gnocchi Chicken Skillet

                Pasta with a unique twist makes for a meal that kids will be curious to try. This one is so good, it might become a favorite for parents, too.

                Check out the recipe here.

                5. Hamburger Pizza

                  Another mashup and more burgers, the hamburger pizza is just too good to pass up—all the flavors of a burger in the form of a childhood favorite.

                  Go here for the recipe.

                  6. Chicken Noodle Soup

                    No list would be complete without this classic. Cheat a little by using rotisserie chicken, and have this soup done in under 30 minutes. Say goodbye to the canned version.

                    Find the recipe here.

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                    7. Hot Dog Roll-Ups

                      Refrigerated crescent rolls, hot dogs, cheese, and bacon come together for a dinner for kids that can’t get much quicker.

                      Find out how to make this fun hot dog dinner here.

                      8. Tater Tot Nachos

                        Not your every day nachos, this recipe uses tater tots as a base. You can use whatever toppings you know that your kid loves to improve it.

                        Check the recipe out here.

                        9. Muffin Tin Lasagna

                          Muffin tin lasagna is just like lasagna but smaller. It’s perfect for little fingers and faster to make than the original.

                          Get the recipe here.

                          10. Frito Pie Casserole

                            Frito chips add crunch to this quick Tex-Mex meal. To make it extra special, turn it into Tacos in a Bag by mixing everything into individual bags of chips.

                            Find the recipe for this delicious meal here.

                            11. Cheeseburger and Fries Casserole

                              Cheeseburger and rise casserole—two fast-food favorites combined into one flavorful casserole. Why eat out when you can have a quick, hot meal at home?

                              The recipe can be found here.

                              12. Meatball Submarine Casserole

                                This dinner for kids may be a little less messy than the sandwich, but they will still love the meatballs, melted cheese, and warm bread.

                                For a quick midweek meal, check out the recipe here.

                                13. White Cheddar Mac and Cheese

                                  The best of comfort foods gets a quick upgrade. Kids will still enjoy this favorite while parents can appreciate the grown-up flavor of white cheddar.

                                  Get the recipe here.

                                  14. Turkey Ranch Wraps

                                    Easy, delicious, fun, and fast—what could be better? This meal is also easy to pack, making it great for those hectic nights when you’re on the go.

                                    Find the recipe here, and give it a try.

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                                    15. Big Mac Pizza

                                      Just saying the words “Big Mac” will get little ears to perk up. A pre-made crust makes this dinner a fast answer to those mealtime frustrations.

                                      Go here to find out how to make it.

                                      16. Buttermilk Chicken Tenders

                                        Homemade yet easy to make chicken tenders—what gets better than that? Add a side of vegetables and fruit and you have a complete meal that kids will happily gobble up.

                                        Get this easy recipe here.

                                        17. Meatball Sliders

                                          Sliders are a great snack or dinner for kids—small hands, small sandwiches. Plus, the tiny size makes them more fun than the original.

                                          Try this recipe here.

                                          18. Ham and Cheese Pockets

                                            Don’t let the idea of making homemade dough keep you from trying this recipe. You’ll be glad you did when you see how simple it is. Everyone will love biting into a ham and cheese pocket made with fresh bread.

                                            The recipe can be found here.

                                            19. Dorito Taco Salad

                                              Swap out tortilla chips for Doritos and watch kids find a new interest in taco salad. Use single-serving bags as the bowl, add the toppings inside, and enjoy having to do fewer dishes.

                                              Get the recipe here.

                                              20. Spaghetti Nests

                                                Kids love spaghetti, but they’ll be surprised to see it as little “nests” they can eat with their fingers.

                                                Find out how to make them here.

                                                21. Mini Chicken Pot Pies

                                                  With only four ingredients and done in half an hour, what’s not to love about this dinner idea for kids? Homemade doesn’t have to mean difficult.

                                                  Get the recipe for this comfort food favorite here.

                                                  22. Sandwich on a Stick

                                                    Save the time slicing, spreading, and piling and instead, put everything onto a stick. Kids will love pulling each item off, and you’ll love the easy clean-up.

                                                    Find the recipe here.

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                                                    23. Tornado Dogs

                                                      The name alone might be enough to make kids eat these. Hot dogs on a skewer are wrapped in a swirl of bread dough, making this a fun new way to eat an old favorite.

                                                      The recipe can be found here.

                                                      24. Homemade Spaghettios

                                                       

                                                        Make your own healthy version of Spaghettios at home with this simple recipe. It’s cheap, simple, and you have control over the ingredients. You might never buy the canned version again.

                                                        Find the recipe for this childhood classic here.

                                                        25. Kitchen BBQ Chicken

                                                          You don’t need anything fancy for this meal, though it will taste like you put a lot of effort into it.

                                                          Find out how to make this quick version here.

                                                          26. Puka Dogs

                                                            Polish sausages or hot dogs are used in this Hawaiian recipe. Pineapple relish and mango mustard add tropical flavors, and Hawaiian rolls are used for the bread.

                                                            Get the recipe here.

                                                            27. Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings

                                                              Almost everyone loves dumplings, and it’s a nice side dish or dinner for your kids. Add chunks of chicken and creamy gravy—what’s there to complain about?

                                                              Get the quick version of this all-time favorite here.

                                                              28. Chicken Alfredo Casserole

                                                                Casseroles make for an easy dinner for kids, and this is one you might find making over and over. Pair it with a salad and you have a delicious Italian meal without the fuss.

                                                                Get the recipe here.

                                                                29. Pizza on a Stick

                                                                  Bamboo skewers switch up yet another meal. This time, pizza gets a makeover in this creative twist.

                                                                  Find out how to make these here.

                                                                  30. Pita Tacos

                                                                    Instead of taco shells, this recipe uses pita bread. Kids will have fun filling the “pockets” with taco ingredients.

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                                                                    Go here for this delicious recipe.

                                                                    31. Copycat Instant Pot Hamburger Helper

                                                                      There’s something classic about Hamburger Helper, but now you can make it just as quickly from scratch. Noodles, ground beef, and sauce come together in this delicious instant pot meal.

                                                                      Get the recipe here.

                                                                      32. Cheese Fondue

                                                                        Fondues open up the door for creativity. Children might even have a few ideas for foods to dip into the cheese sauce. Pretzel bites, bread, vegetables, and meat make good options.

                                                                        Find more ideas and the recipe here.

                                                                        33. Egg in the Hole

                                                                          This recipe is one of those quick breakfasts that would make a great dinner for kids when you’re in a rush. Make it even better by using a cookie cutter to make a fun shape in the bread.

                                                                          The recipe can be found here.

                                                                          34. Instant Pot Egg Casserole Bites

                                                                            These casserole bites are filling and quick. The small size makes them easy to eat and their clean-up a breeze. Kids can add their favorite toppings, too. Cheese, peppers, sausage, and bacon are just a few options.

                                                                            Find out how to make this recipe here.

                                                                            35. French Toast Roll-Ups

                                                                              Sometimes, it’s the simple things that grab a kid’s attention. This french toast recipe is sure to be a dinner they love and one you don’t have to feel bad about making.

                                                                              Find the recipe here.

                                                                              My Kid Still Won’t Eat—Is This Normal?

                                                                              Remember that kids go through stages. There will be days when your child barely eats, and there will be days when the hunger seems nonstop.

                                                                              Focus on the big picture and ask yourself these questions:[4]

                                                                              • Is my child eating a variety of healthy foods over the course of the week?
                                                                              • Is my child undernourished or growing normally?
                                                                              • Is food (or lack of) interfering with my child’s quality of life?

                                                                              It might be time to see a doctor if you see signs of health problems due to pickiness or lack of eating. The problem may go beyond stubbornness and be a symptom of a medical issue.[5]

                                                                              Keeping Family Mealtime Stress-free

                                                                              The less stressed you are, the less stressed your child will be. Forcing food will make the experience negative, leaving kids less likely to experiment.

                                                                              Here are a few final tips on how to encourage positive eating habits that will follow your child through life:

                                                                              • Keep meals stress-free
                                                                              • Offer a wide variety of foods
                                                                              • Don’t force eating
                                                                              • Encourage older children to try new food at least three times
                                                                              • Set a good example by eating healthy, and being open to new foods yourself

                                                                              With a positive attitude, fun ideas, and new recipes, you can help your child learn to love new foods. You can start with these 35 dinner ideas for kids to help you out.

                                                                              More Kids’ Meals Ideas

                                                                              Featured photo credit: Karo Kujanpaa via unsplash.com

                                                                              Reference

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