Table Grace Cafe

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Recently, while visiting friends and family in my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, our dear friend Cynthia took us to Table Grace Cafe for lunch.

Utilizing physical food donations from companies like Wohlners and Whole Foods, Table Grace Cafe is able to create amazing meals, using food that otherwise would have been thrown away! Look at this menu from a recent day of service:

Salad: Mixed Lettuce, Toppers: Craisins or Strawberries with Champagne – Berry Vinaigrette or Balsamic, or Ranch

Soup: Roasted Potatoes and Pepper Soup, Mild Chicken and Potato or Cream of Asparagus

Pizza: Antipesto or Roasted Brussel Sprout and Squash

 

From their website, their mission:

To foster a healthy community by offering great food prepared and served in a graceful manner to anyone who walks through the door.

Gourmet Pizza, Salad and Soup
no set price
different varieties prepared daily
fresh and organic ingredients when available
no cash register
funded by donation box,
patrons may donate or serve.
10 day work program/referral

Our goal is that everyone regardless of economic status, deserves the chance to eat wonderful food while being treated with respect and dignity.

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If you find yourself in Omaha, Nebraska, take a gander over to Farnam Street and pay a visit to the folks at Table Grace Cafe!

Hours

Monday – Saturday
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Location

1611 1/2  Farnam St
Omaha, NE  68102-2113

 

Things I’m scared to say out loud

This post was inspired by this from Nina Badzin and this one.

I have been not writing much at all like I used to. I have so much to say, but it feels weirdly tiring when I try to write a post that makes sense. When I saw Nina’s post about things she won’t write about and then Alison’s piece on what she’s afraid to tell her readers, I realized that it was ok to just write my thoughts down, whether or not they make sense and then just hit publish. That’s the beauty of my blog, I appreciate that I don’t have any rules and no one looking over my shoulder at my content / themes and subject matter.

Without further ado, some things I’m scared to say out loud:

I really didn’t like living in Florida.

It has nothing to do with the friends we DID make while we were there, but instead all about the combination of trying to repatriate, realizing that we didn’t fit in anymore (but we looked like we should have) and struggling to find common denominators with those we encountered.

I loved the climate, or so I thought. It was great to have consistent flip-flop weather and a garden that grew nearly year round. It was nice living in a place where so many friends and family came through on vacation, so we got to see more of them. The reality was that I missed the four seasons and snow in the winter. I wore skirts nearly every day because it was THAT hot in Orlando, almost every day. As my friend Lynden will say, skirts allow one to cool off the undercarriage!

I don’t know how to parent my children.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know how to LOVE them, cherish them and encourage them. I do not, however, know how to parent them. I realized recently that they have no idea how to do any kind of housework and all three of them are very unorganized and unable to prioritize. I also am not quite sure how to instill tradition into their lives because we’ve bucked the system for the majority of all their childhood years by raising them overseas and some days, it feels too late to begin.

I don’t like talking about politics or racism, even though I am very outgoing and not afraid to voice my opinion.

I recently wrote about how it feels to be from a mixed heritage but several months ago, I had another experience that made me realize just how uncomfortable of a topic it is. When I passed my Real Estate Exam, at the end, I was asked to fill out a form that asked about my race. The four options were 1. Caucasian 2. Asian 3. African-American 4. Hispanic.  “Huh” I said to the proctor, “I’m half and half, what should I put?” She said “Well honey, up here in Virginia, I’d say you look black.” I’m currently investigating this with our State Board as I think this paperwork needs to be updated a bit, don’t you think? I will work hard to change things like that, but I still don’t like discussing racism. Sometimes that feels ignorant, and sometimes it feels like a way to protect myself. I don’t know how to have that conversation either.

I have a family member who struggles with addiction and is in rehab, after a considerable amount of time in jail.

Someone said the other day that she enjoyed interacting with me because our family was so fascinating and interesting, and “whatever your parents did, they sure did something right.” She went on to say that she sometimes feels shame when talking about her sister, who is in and out of jail, who struggles with addiction and is letting their family down. I listened to her, and then when she was finished, said “I know what you mean.” She was shocked and said “You too?”  We then had a very strange conversation about the assumptions and stereotypes that we give one another when it comes to criminal matters, family drama and discussions about addiction. I don’t have a solid, streamlined way to have this discussion, so I’ll leave it here for now.

 Are there things you wish you could talk about to others, but feel afraid to open your mouth?

 

Twenty things your kids should know how to do

I recently had one of those weekends.

I am trying to balance the workload of a new business, with the consistent responsibilities of being a mother and following through with the expectations of being a wife. You know, laundry, dishes, cleaning, meal planning, homework, tending to the animals, picking up after everyone … the list goes on and on.

But I had an ah-ha moment as I hid in the bathroom and pretended not to hear the calls of “Mom?” and “Naomi? Where are you?”

Instead of grumbling under my breath that everyone seems to rely on ME for these tasks, it’s time to teach THEM how to do for themselves! Here are 20 things I think your kids should know!

20 things kids should know how to do

Not only is it important for there to be some balance around the house (whether you work outside the home or not) it is crucial we raise our kiddos with the know-how to do these tasks, without being nagged or without hearing “but I don’t know how to do that!”

1. Hold the door open for others. This goes without saying, yet how many times do you see it happen? Just a couple of days ago, while out for dinner with our family, my 11 year old held the door open for his sister. The hostess in the restaurant was gushy and said “Oh wow! That was cool to see.”  It’s not just a boy thing, girls can hold the door open for others as well. It’s a simple act of kindness and respect, and trust me, the effort goes a LONG way!

2. Do laundry. You might say this is far reach depending on how old your children are, and I’m not suggesting you make your 3 year old load the washing machine. However, raise your hand if you’re tired of turning clothes right-side-out and separating underwear from pants that were removed in one fell “schwoop”? Teach your little ones to place the dirties into their laundry bin in the same way they would like them returned to their drawers. When your kids are a little older, let them take over the responsibility to put folded clothes away. When they are old enough to reach the dials on the back of the machine, put them to work! I wouldn’t recommend letting them deal with the delicates, however.

3. Set the table. I love these simple suggestions from Simple Kids on how to teach little ones to set the table. If yours are older than that, begin them with the habit of setting the table daily on their own with no cues or assistance.

4. Know how to cook.  I took this topic to my Facebook Page to ask what my crew thought. Jess suggested I add “cooking” to the list and I concur! My 8 year old recently made dinner for us recently and she did a super job. It doesn’t have to be fancy, in fact, in can be something that is frozen-to-skillet or a microwave dish. The point is, giving some responsibility in the kitchen to your kids is a good thing. Let them be creative and feel confidence. It will serve them LONG after they’ve left your nest.

[Tweet “It’s time for our kids to take responsibility around the house!”]

5. How to budget and live within your means. YES to Carin for suggesting this one! Not sure how to start though? I really love the Three Jars system and want to learn more about it! Renee, a friend from our time in India added to this topic and said the best thing her parents taught her was how to comparison shop and balance a checkbook. By learning about brands, price comparison what groceries actually cost, they taught their family how to plan meals, the value of money, and a lifelong ability to feed and care for ourselves, within a budget.
Same goes with learning to write checks, and balance a checking account.  

6. How to be safe. My friend Mahima suggested this one and followed it up with “call a parent or friend to give a ride home, or call a cab” but I think we can also expand this to also apply to choosing friends in the first place, and guarding their vulnerability safely.

7. Don’t conform to your friends just because they have an opinion that is different from your own. This tidbit came from Jill and I whole-heartedly agree. This is a concept / characteristic that I think most children need to be taught. Some rare ones come by it naturally, but if yours doesn’t, consistently explore the comfort of having different opinions and establish a “agree to disagree” vibe in your own home as a starting point.

8. How to make breakfast. I know we talked about knowing how to cook up above, but it’s equally as important for your child to know how to fend for themselves in the morning. After years of living abroad with a staff full of people ready to serve, we discovered early on in our time back in the United States that our children, even the youngest, needed to know how to pour a bowl of cereal or spread his bagel with cream cheese. As they’ve gotten older, they have also learned how to scramble eggs and make bacon in the oven. All worthwhile on those mornings when everyone needs to be out of the house early!

9. How to make their bed. Ok, so, I have NOT mastered this one yet. Not even close. No one in our family makes our bed in the morning. I am half tempted to just let this one slide, after all, one can’t expect perfection.

10. Write thank you notes. THIS one on the other hand, IS a must in our house. I actually don’t care if it’s a text, a voice mail or a photo with a card made out of Sharpies and a piece of construction paper. The effort to say THANK YOU is important and we do it as often as we can.

11. Add air to vehicle tires. Again, we haven’t tackled this yet, but it’s on our list. I knew how to change a tire when I was 15 and it’s the least I can do, to teach my children how to check the air in their tires and refill as necessary. Pumping gas is a necessary evil too! Have you shared this skill with your children or do you assume they’ll know how to do it?

12. How to load a dishwasher. I do not have a specified way to load a dishwasher, but I do know that a child should know how to rinse dishes, place large food debris in the trash, how to generally load a dishwasher and then rinse the sink. Can you imagine being able to say “hey ______, can you load the dishwasher?” and then have it magically done?

13. How to sweep and mop floors.  You might think this is an obvious chore that most children could automatically accomplish. However, when my middle child drew the “sweep the kitchen floor” chore stick a couple of weeks ago, the awkwardness was almost comical. I realized right then and there that proper sweeping is something to be taught!

14. How to shower / wash their own hair. Again with the obviousness, but how many of you are still washing your children’s hair in elementary school? Instruct your kiddos on the appropriate amount of shampoo and conditioner (much less than they will normally squeeze out!) and how to properly rinse it all out before ending their bath or shower.

15. How to volunteer. One of my biggest soapboxes you’ll find in my corner is that of volunteerism. Teaching children to have this as part of their normal and everyday practice is super important in my books. Taking your children along when YOU volunteer to begin instilling the love of doing something for the simple joy of giving to others. Often times, children are too young to volunteer officially for an organization, but there are always opportunities to work alongside you while you stuff bags for your local food bank, or stick labels on outgoing packages. Try Volunteer Match to find opportunities near you.

16. How to show up and be on time. Whether you set your clocks ahead by a couple of minutes, or set alarms for those days when you need to leave the house at a specific time, teach your children young to be on time for commitments, events and functions. I’m consistently surprised by the number of adults I encounter who set “be on time” as an annual New Years Resolution. Start with your littles and let their resolutions be saved for more important goals and ambitions!

17. How to clean a toilet. Teach them how to apply your choice of cleaning solution, scrub up underneath the rim and let the brush dry out before replacing it into the storage caddy.

18. How to order a meal while dining out. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you intentionally instruct your children on this topic, it builds confidence and teaches respect. Teach them how to politely ask questions about their meal request, and even inquire about substitutions. Children who can look their waitstaff in the eye, speak clearly and say “thank you” while handing back their menu adds up to a really enjoyable experience when dining out with your family!

19. How to pack their own suitcase. As frequent travelers while raising our children, I often pined for the day when I would no longer have to pack ALL of the suitcases for our family. What I didn’t realize was that I should have started sooner in allowing them to begin helping! If your children are young, let them step alongside you during the packing and explain the purpose behind your packing – ask them how many pairs of socks they will need for a 5 day trip, etc. As they get older, allow them to pack themselves, with a check by you before you actually leave the house. The effort put into training them to pack for themselves will be well worth it the next time you get your passports out!

20. Don’t be afraid to talk to mom about stuff. A second contribution from the awesome Jess, this is a big one. I think that we as parents move very quickly from loving our little ones while they are little life being full of cuddles, before we know it, bedroom doors are getting slammed in our faces. We then wonder what possibly went wrong. We need to make more of an effort to get our kids talking to us about all of the things from an early age. I like asking mine at bedtime these three questions: What was your favorite thing from today? What didn’t go so well today? What do you hope for tomorrow? It can surprisingly spur some fantastic conversation. Bonus Tip: be present enough to listen to the answers.

 

What do you think? What would you add to this list?