Let’s Answer Some Questions!

4074 4074_ () 4074 4074 A little Q and A round-up, some from my inbox, some from the comments:

Reader Patty says:

Please share the roast chicken recipe!!!!

Patty! You got it! I use Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken and I’ve never ever had it turn out bad. Super easy. Super delicious. I don’t even use the fennel or the thyme. I’m sure adding those two ingredients would take it to the next level, but I always forget to purchase fennel and thyme and still we are all weeping over the harmonious flavors emanating from our taste buds. The roast carrots taste like candy and I’m not even lying.

Reader Michelle asks:

You don’t spat with your husband?! My question for you on The Gist: Please teach me your ways. How on Earth do you guys not spat?

Since we didn’t answer that one on The Gist this season, I thought I could answer it over here. How do we not spat? Hmmmm…

Well, first a little history: Paul and I got married when he was 30 and I was 22. I was a very young twenty-two. I sought to pick fights with my husband on a regular basis and no issue was too small for me to get miffed about! I was an equal opportunity offendee. Here is my theory of why: I’m an oldest child with Oldest Child Syndrome (which to me is also called Being a Peacemaker or perhaps Never Wants to Rock the Boat). So when I got married I suddenly had someone with whom I could share from the deepest recesses of my soul or in very bad moments take things out on and say whatever was on my mind. The details are a little hazy now, thank the Lord, but back then I seemed to get my feeling hurt all the time. It was obnoxious.

Paul on the other hand is the kind of guy who rarely gets worked up about ennnn-neeee-theeeeng. Which can drive a person nuts. But it can also be really good. I’m not sure that he was necessarily always this way — you probably did the math and realized when he was in high school I was finishing up elementary. But I do think a) he’s always been on the chill side with most things in life and b) his mother died suddenly at a young age, two years before Paul and I got married, and I think that tends to put life in perspective.

So when it comes to finding stuff to fight about, thankfully over time I’ve learned to chill and also I think we both like to ask ourselves that all important question when dealing with other people, which is “Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?” In a healthy married relationship, applying this principle will get you very far indeed. Many of the things people get worked up about (in a healthy relationship) are just not worth losing your peace over.

And from the inbox (and I’m sorry, y’all, I owe some people some emails from this summer! Summertime is crazy and I’m just getting caught up):

Faithful reader Abby writes:

First, do you have any books you can recommend on teenage boys??!!! I’m the type of person that likes to read about subjects to wrap my mind around them. I would love any suggestions of ‘must read’ books.

Second, can you please (PLEASE…..PLEASE…..PLEASE) do a series of posts on teenage boys?? You’ve touched on that subject here and there but I feel like I need more. I need to know these changes aren’t my imagination. I need to hear it from another mom who has been there, is there, done that, and is doing that now.

For books, I love Dr. Dobson’s Bringing Up Boys. The first few chapters alone will encourage you enough to put one foot in front of the other on the really frustrating days of dealing with boys. You are NOT CRAZY, and neither are your sons.

My husband really loved Boys Adrift, another book that looks at the why of boys but specifically at dealing with the nature of boys and stuggles with that nature in today’s classroom setting. Very interesting.

I can’t recommend enough anything by Dr. John Rosemond (though I have not yet read his book on dealing with teenagers). I like him because he’s just so down-to-earth. He really gives parents permission to step back from today’s mumbo-jumbo style of over-parenting-analysis and just use your brain. His advice always reminds me to not make everything an over-the-top issue.

A trusted counselor-friend of ours says the best book he’s read on dealing with adolescents is Parenting Today’s Adolescent, which I’m in the process of reading. It’s got a lot of great advice and reminders about the fights that are indeed worth fighting.

Alright, we’ll try to clean out some more when I get another block of time! Next time, maybe we can start to tackle the topic of teens! 4074″ .



  1. Parenting the Teenage Brain: Understanding a Work in Progress – I love this book. Helps me a lot deal with my teenager. They just are really wired differently.

  2. I have read John Rosemond’s book on teenagers, Teen-Proofing and I can’t say enough good things about it. LOVE!!! I love him anyway, but it’s really good. I have totally used his techniques on my teenagers, and it’s a GREAT reminder (as you said about the other book) of which fights are worth fighting and which ones you have to let go. It’s the same priniciple you mentioned earlier about being happy or being right.

  3. Years ago when my children were small (they are 28 & 30 now) I lived in VA and used to read John Rosemund’s column in the local paper. I got his book, “Six Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy Children”–and I LOVED it! I have since bought it for many, many people when they first have children. I just looked on his website and it looks like he has a new version of it out. I highly recommend it!

  4. Your family is bigger than mine, but is one roast chicken enough for your crew?
    It seems like we barely have any leftovers with one.

    I might have to try this myself. It’s probably a lot less salt than the grocery store rotisserie.

  5. As the mom of 4 former teenagers, with four left to go, I recommend Dr. Rosemond too, but I’ve also found a lot of encouragement in Dr. Ray Guarendi, who’s kind of a Catholic Rosemond. His book, “Good Discipline, Great Teens,” was a real help to me and my husband. I also printed out this essay by James Stenson, called “Coming Down the Home Stretch–How Parents Deal Effectively with their Adolescent Children,” (http://www.parentleadership.com/homestretch.html) and I have it permanently perched on my bedside table for referring to every now and then.

    Sample: “Distinguish between trusting their integrity and trusting their judgment. When they ask why you don’t trust them, make this clear to them: We implicitly trust your integrity–always have and always will. … What we must sometimes mistrust is your judgment. It’s your inexperienced judgment that can make trouble for you and others; when teens get into trouble the fault is nearly always bad judgment.