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What’s for supper? Vol. 11: Here comes the quiche, doot-n-doo-doot

whats for supper

SATURDAY
CANDY
HAM and CHEESE
CANDY
CANDYCANDY

Halloween was Saturday, you’ll recall! No sense in making dinner when there’s trick-or-treating to get done. They had some cheese sticks or something before they left, then got home and ate their way through a mountain of candy. After a few hours of this, I offered them ham and cheese. A few of them declined; a few didn’t even bother to respond; and a few behaved as if it was the food of the gods, because it was so refreshingly not-candy.

For your delectation, here is my three-year-old, who was extremely pleased with her costume(?) of Toadette(?) from Mario Kart:

cabbage cruz

 

SUNDAY
CUBAN PICADILLO; RICE

Everyone in the house was super, super, super excited about this dish. It smelledso savory and wonderful. How could it not? Beef and chorizo, fresh garlic, cinnamon, cloves, olives, and raisins!

The verdict? “It’s not like anyone was retching or anything,” one food critic was heard to muse.

food blog picadillo

Believe it or not, it only looked about this good in the original NYT recipe page, too, and I still went ahead and made it anyway.

Ah, well. At least I got to feel like a good sport, trying new things for these ungrateful savages. But seriously, it just wasn’t all that good.

For dessert we had those Play Doh cookies that come in a tube and you slice them up and there’s a picture in them.

 

MONDAY
QUICHE; ONION SOUP

My daughter goes, “I like how this onion soup is just a bunch of onions.” I know. It’s like, “Hey, have some onions!” Oh boy.

I use beef broth instead of water, but more or less follow the Fannie Farmer recipe. They are not kidding when they say leave plenty of time to let the onions cook. Count on at least 45 minutes, if not longer — but the rest comes together in a few minutes. This soup is great served over croutons, with cheese on top – and it’s pretty great just as is, too.

My quiche is really just serviceable (and I use milk instead of cream, which basically makes it scrambled egg pie), but it’s bright and cheery-looking, which is more and more important to me as it gets darker and colder. That moment when you open the oven and pull out four brilliant, glistening, golden, sunny, fragrant pies . . . it makes up for a lot.

cabbage cruz

Here comes the quiche, doot-n-doo-doot . . . here comes the quiche, and I say . . . it’s all ham. (Actually, two ham and cheddar, two sausage and mozzarella. I forgot I had feta in the house, or I would have done at least one feta and spinach.)

 

TUESDAY 
PASTA WITH MEAT SAUCE; SALAD

Nothing to report. Ground beef in jarred meat sauce. Again, it wasn’t candy, and it wasn’t those awful cookies that I couldn’t seem to stop eating.

At one point during the day, I hauled out the massive bag of pumpkin guts and sorted seeds for about an hour. I got about a fifth of the way through.  I do love roasted pumpkin seeds. Looks like the kids have a project for the weekend.

food blog pumpkin guts

WEDNESDAY
CHICKEN WRAPS

I’m probably the only person in the world who has attempted to make a copycat recipe of Burger King’s awful little chicken wraps. It’s just a hunk of white meat, a slab of iceberg lettuce, some shredded cheese, and some kind of orange salad dressing, wrapped indifferently in a cold flour tortilla and hurled out the window without even offering a receipt. You may or may not get a straw.

I took this photo thinking, "Maybe they don't know what chicken looks like!"

I took this photo thinking, “Maybe they don’t know what chicken looks like!”

I remembered about the feta this time, so we also had feta, plus some hummus. But no ketchup.

THURSDAY
WAFFLES; SAUSAGES; MASHED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

I like how squash tastes, but I really, really like how it looks like those enormous gaudy wall hangings they put in hospitals. Check it out:

food blog squash 3

 

food blog squash 1

 

food blog squash 2

Do I have a follow-up joke here? No, I do not. Squash is pretty, the end.

FRIDAY
TUNA SANDWICHES; CHIPS

And we are off to Syracuse! I believe Mr. Husband and I (and Corrie) will be attending some sort of banquet when we get there. The kids will no doubt dine upon strawberries, sugar, and cream. And roasted pumpkin seeds, maybe!

Question of the week: Still got candy? I ate the last piece of Starburst this morning.

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What’s for supper? Vol. 10: ‘At’samatta for you?

whats for supper

 

SATURDAY
HOBBIT BIRTHDAY!

Roast chicken, asparagus, braided stuffed bread, and roast apples; hot cider; birthday cake and ice cream.

One of my four teenagers had a birthday. Fine, her birthday was last month. But when we finally got around to having a party, it was pretty good. It was a dinner party very loosely based on The Hobbit.

food blog hobbit cake

You thought the Peter Jackson version was bad? This is the version where the cake is basically just crumbs held together with damp coconut, and everything else is made out of store bought icing squeezed out of sandwich bags, and the director has severe PMS and is just trying not to get tears in the food.

Mommy blogging alert and disclaimer. I like making crafts, decorating cakes, and crap like that. It is fun for me. If you hate crafts and stuff, and reading about crafts and stuff makes you feel bad, just tell yourself, “Yeah, but her house smells like pee andlooks like the hynena cave in Lion King!” And it will be true. Or, if you’re much better at crafts and cake decorating and stuff than I am, just go suck an egg. See? Everyone’s happy.

We had a giant garbage bag spider with a captured Felicity dwarf in its web lurking in one corner

food blog spider

and I attempted to make Bilbo’s door out of streamers, but it didn’t look that great, mainly because the my Cheapskate Brain overpowered my Regular Brain and persuaded me that we could afford to buy green streamers, but not colored paper for the bricks.

food blog hobbit door

Benny was very impressed, though, when I used matches to distress the “no admittance” sign.

I used a match because it's from The Hobbit, back when everything was burnt on the edges.

I used a match because it’s from The Hobbit times, back when everything was burnt on the edges.

That was all decorating we had time for. We had a campfire, the kids played at the stream, and we made dragon eggs. Yes, the dragon in LOTR is a boy dragon, but you know what? This is a party activity which teenagers are not too cool to do (if you can put up with a lot of shrieking over how gross the egg-blowing is). Here’s theinstructions, and here are a few the kids made:

food blog dragon eggs

 

 

If you make a little circle of hot glue on one end, they will stand up on their own.

We have An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery (actually, we couldn’t find our copy; but not one but two friends were kind enough to get their hands on the ebook version and send me the recipe!), which is full of tasty things we need to make someday. Because we were rushed, we just chose the braided braid stuffed with onions, mushrooms and cheese. I’m not great with yeast breads, and in desperation picked up five pouches of pizza crust mix from Walmart, and it turned outspectacular. My daughter made four large loaves. There were shouts of, “MAKE THIS EVERY DAY FROM  NOW ON.”

I also roasted a couple of big chickens, steamed some asparagus, and made two big pans of roasted apples, and it was a very fine meal, if only vaguely Hobbity.

food blog hobbit meal

We had hot cider, non-mulled, because I’m the only one who likes it mulled. I like some wine in it, too, but it wasn’t that kind of party.

food blog irene campfire

Or was it?

Roasted apples, by the way! Yes. So easy and delicious. A quick, easy side dish that would go with lots of cold weather foods.

food blog roasted apples

 

 

SUNDAY
Yummy things without kids!

Sunday was our 18th anniversary. The kids had hot dogs or something, and we packed a bottle of wine and an assortment of tasty things and ate the by a little fire down by the stream, which is just out of sight of the house, and we had a lovely time.

food blog fire wine

So then I realized it was time to start the week, and I hadn’t gone shopping yet, and had also somehow unexpectedly run out of money. Like, all of it. So the rest of the week went like this:

You’ll note there was no actual falling down, but there was a lot of falling. I never actually made a meal plan or went grocery shopping in any organized way; I just flailed around in the store on the way home from school several times, and then flailed around in the kitchen until there was something hot on the table.

 

MONDAY
WILD TURKEY SURPRISE

There was so much grousing about lack of good lunch food, I thought I should make an effort for dinner, so I made sauce out of all the stuff we had in the house, which turned out to be peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, wine, and ground turkey. I like making homemade sauce, because how fancy is it to add sugar to something that is not supposed to be sweet, because you’re so smart, you know you have to cut the acidity of the tomatoes? I feel like such an insider.

An’ a little bit l’ wiiine . . . and that’s my secret.

Of course the end result is less Godfather and more Tasmanian Devil

But the end result was actually pretty good, mainly because we were starving by the time I got dinner on the table.

 

TUESDAY
???

Maybe frozen chicken burgers? I forget.

 

WEDNESDAY
Chicken drumsticks; macaroni salad; frozen peas

I was planning to make rice, but there was no rice, so I scraped together this macaroni salad recipe, which tasted fine.

 

THURSDAY
Braised pork with red wine over noodles

I was determined to make something interesting this week. This was not bad.

food blog braised pork

It is something new to do with pork, anyway, and pork keeps on being cheap.  I let it boil too fast for too long, so the meat was a little tough; but the gravy was fantastic. I could have eaten just the noodles with gravy and been happy. It’s definitely easy, and you can do it in a crock pot if you like.

Also, it turns out I didn’t know what “braised” means.

FRIDAY
???

I have no idea. Probably more noodles. I have to finish up Halloween costumes. I’m really counting on the kids being full of candy from their parties today, and thinking less about supper and more about (sigh) gutting and carving ten pumpkins.

This looks like a happy childhood, right?

This looks like a happy childhood, right?

My therapist says that people underestimate the profound effect of not getting enough sleep. Well, I don’t. Or, I do. I mean, I’m really tired. I feel bad even saying it, because my husband keeps getting up with the kids so I can sleep, but nevertheless.

Question of the week: ‘Attsa matta, you no like-a, HEY, ‘attsamatta for you?

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12+ Scary Movies Our Kids Loved (including at least 5 “hells” and 2 “bollocks”)

Dracula_1958_a
By Screenshot from “Internet Archive” of the movie Dracula (1958) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Because we are integrated Catholics, we observe All Saints Day, All Souls Day, and Halloween — the latter, by trick-or-treating, putting the little guys stickily to bed, and showing the older kids a scarier movie than we normally allow.  And because I’m still in denial about just how many outrageous promises I carelessly made about costumes I’d be happy to whip up, I’m thinking hard about what movie we’ll show this year.

There are a bunch of mildly scary movies we can show the little guys: Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a favorite; and it’s fun to watch Abbot and Costello meet various creatures. And there’s always The Munsters, which is a truly terrible show, but the little guys love it.

What to show the middle kids and older kids? It needs to be scary, but not too scary.  There are plenty of flat-out terrifying movies out there, but we’re looking for one that don’t introduce any themes or images that kids aren’t ready to deal with.  Pure slasher movies, I oppose for people of any age, as I can’t imagine how you can learn to enjoy watching them without disastrously deadening some part of your soul.  I’m also not a fan of supernatural horror movies, which give people the impression that religion is part dopey, part freaky.

The year I wrote this post, we went with Arachnophobia (1990).  It was weird and funny, a well done, edge-of-the-seat creature feature.  It’s classified as a comedy/thriller, which hits the sweet spot for me:  The comedy makes us more vulnerable when the shocks come, but it also reminds us that it’s just a movie.  John Goodman as the exterminator is hilarious.

Much gorier and much funnier, and also very moving in places, is Shaun of the Dead (2004), one of my favorite movies in any genre.  It’s about a zombie near-apocalypse, but is just as much about friendship and love, and it convincingly shows the main character move from failure-to-launch slobhood to heroic manhood.  But it totally earns the R rating, mostly because of the truly horrifying gore.  We did let our 11-year-old watch this one.

We recently saw The Sixth Sense (1999) and Signs (2002). It beats me why The Sixth Sense is the more celebrated. It’s very good, but Signs is fantastic, and has so much more depth. It’s one of my favorite movies in general, and it will make you feel better whenever you start feeling down about Mel Gibson. The Village (2004) is pretty scary, but relies way too heavily on the plot twist; and, as I mentioned on the radio with Mark the other day, I had a hard time getting past the idea that the villagers would have bothered to pack things like decorative door hinges. I don’t pack like that.Unbreakable (2000) is tremendously underrated, so carefully crafted — Shyamalan’s best, I think.

Have I mentioned The Mummy (1999) often enough in past posts?  Yes?  All right, I’ll skip the details and just remind you that it really moves along, it has a heroine that you actually root for, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously.  Also, the scene where the guy knows something’s coming to get him but he can’t find his glasses?  Brrrrr.  The Mummy Returns (2001) is a worthy sequel.  The Mummy 3, I don’t know what the title is because I fell asleep before I got to the end of reading it, never mind watching the movie (2008) should be taken out and shot. When they replaced Rachel Weisz in the third one, you realized, “Ah, so it was Rachel Weisz who was holding the other two movies together.”

Some darker choices:  Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.  I always feel defensive when my kids watch a Hitchcock movie — the man was so hard on his viewers.  I still haven’t forgiven him for Vertigo.  The nerve, confusing me that way, and making me upset about those awful people with their plastic hair!  The Birds has a weird structure that makes it feel very dated. Vertigo is just nasty, but worth getting under your belt so you can enjoy High Anxiety.

Gaslight (1944). You think you know about this movie because you’re familiar with the term “gaslighting.”  So watch it and find out why it’s a classic.  So incredibly tense, so gorgeously black-and-white.  The acting is subtle and superb and the pacing is exquisite.  I’m adding it to my Netflix queue right now.

Diabolique (1954, not the apparently highly stinky 1996 remake).  ONE OF THE SCARIEST MOVIES I HAVE EVER SEEN.  You feel like you can’t even breathe for a good part of this movie.  Very tricky plot, very nasty direction, and horribly, horribly French.  Entirely effective if you feel like getting grabbed by the brain and shaken around for a while.

Lightening things up again:  Tremors (1990).  Okay, technically more of an action/adventure flick, but it will keep you on your toes.  This is how our Halloween movie tradition got started:  my son was so excited to be trick-or-treating, he bolted down the sidewalk, slipped on some dry leaves, and spent the rest of Halloween in the ER with a sprained wrist.  So we showed him Tremors as compensation.  It’s another combo of suspense, action and gore, with a satisfying and wholesome resolution.  Very likeable heroes, and the paranoid survivalist couple is a scream.

Army of Darkness (1992)  Just tons of fun.  The fact that the diabolical villains are called “Deadites” — because they’re dead – will give you an idea of the tone of this movie.  Brilliant slapstick, but scary enough that it’s not for anyone under the age of ten.  (Also a sexy scene or two, which we handle, if littler kids are watching, by putting a pillow over the screen.)

Rear Window (1954)  Another of my all-time favorites in any genre.  I have something of a Cary Grant problem — have a real hard time getting past his blue hair — which means I often have a Hitchcock problem.  But this movie features Jimmy Stewart instead, flexing his acting muscles on a character which is not as repellent as some Hitchcock heroes — but still, somethin’ ain’t right with that guy.  Love it.  And Grace Kelly and her astonishing dresses are so lovely, you don’t care that she’s kind of a dish of lukewarm pudding, actingwise.  Oh, and yes, it’s scary!  Suspenseful as all get out, and howlingly original in scope.

Island of Lost Souls is also on my to-watch list.  Reliable sources have assured me it’s super creepy.  It’s from 1932 with Charles Laughton, and is based on the novel The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells.  IMDb’s plot summary:

An obsessed scientist conducts profane experiments in evolution, eventually establishing himself as the self-styled demigod to a race of mutated, half-human abominations.

Sigh.  I dunno, are we sure this same story isn’t featured in the latest issue of JAMA?  Anyway, Charles Laughton is always fun to watch.  Also stars Bela Lugosi.

Speaking of Bela Lugosi, how about Dracula?  1931, the one and only year that saw the production of a genuinely scary vampire movie.  Unless you include The Lost Boys (1987), assuming you can’t think of anything scarier than rice that turns into maggots — SCARY MAGGOTS, WHICH IS SO MEAN, YOU AWFUL VAMPIRES, YOU! Although Corey Haim bopping in the bathtub is genuinely horrifying.  That recent Nosferatu movie stank on ice, in the way that only John Malkovich can make something stink on ice (that is, pretentiosly).  I have heard that 30 Days of Night (2007) is terrifying — so much so that I don’t even think I can acknowledge that it exists.

Addendum: Okay, fine, I guess Dracula (1958) with Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing as Van Helsing, is a good one, too. We’ll probably watch that one this year.

This has nothing to do with anything; I just think it's funny.

This has nothing to do with anything; I just think it’s funny.

The older ones (we have three in high school this year) may go with The Silence of the Lambs (1991). I may be too chicken to join them.

***

A version of this post originally ran at the Register in 2012, back when I got all embroiled in the comments box, because someone made the following comment:

Shaun of the Dead?  Really?  This movie has the following in it, and this is just the language! (from Screenit.com)  At least 46 “f” words (1 used with “mother”), 2 “s” words, 4 slang terms using female genitals (“tw*t” and a possible “c*nt”), 4 using male ones (“pr*ck” and “c*ck”), 5 hells, 2 bollocks, 4 uses of “Oh my God,” 3 of “For Christ’s sakes,” 2 of “For God’s sakes” and 1 use each of “Christ,” “Jesus” and “Oh God.”

As evidence of my personal spiritual growth, I’d like to point out that I did not title this post “Tw*t” and a Possible “C*nt.”

***

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How to make your Halloween magnificent!

We never did find out what Wish Bear was so angry about. I thought she looked magnificent.

We never did find out what Wish Bear was so angry about. I thought she looked magnificent.

Our founding fathers didn’t die face down in the mud of Vietnam only to see my children struggling through the night with only Mary Janes, Good and Plenty, nameless lollipop blobs, and Bit-o’- Chicken to sustain them, like I did when I was a kid. Those were dark times. We can do better.

Read the rest at the Register.

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These 3D printable masks could save Halloween.

Halloween is in eight days.  So far, I have (a) ordered one light blue hoodie from Ebay and (b) yelled at everybody.  Since we have to come up with nine costumes — or 17, really, since the older kids always pick a trick-or-treating costume that would be inappropriate for school, and so we have to come up with a second costume that won’t trigger an automatic lock-down. Thank goodness we’re terrible Catholics and quietly ignore All Saint’s Day, except for going to Mass, or we’d be looking at eight days to find 27 costumes.

Anyway, here is something amazing: printable paper masks of animals and other creatures from Wintercroft Masks. You pay a small sum, download a PDF, print it out, cut and assemble, and then paint them if you like. Very nicely designed, and the guy says they are structurally quite sturdy. Check out the lion:

 

mask lion

 

You can see he spray painted it gold for a neat Tron Lion effect, but you could also do a more naturalistic style, or you could make it kind of stylized and tribal. Lots of possibilities!

 

mask skull

 

Same for this one. Very effective with just plain white and black, or you could go for a dia de los muertos effect.

Here’s a tiger:

 

mask tiger

 

which could also easily be a leopard or adorable kitty cat, depending on how you decorate it.

There are lots more. It says it will take you two to three hours to assemble the masks. If you click on the individual pictures in the gallery, you will see strange and hilarious vignettes of people wearing the masks in odd settings. No shipping costs, no shopping, and you can still consider it semi-homemade. Love it.

Oh, so if you’re wondering, here are our kids’ plans for Halloween (and yes, the big kids are dressing up. I don’t care). From youngest to oldest:

  • 2-year-old: Rainbow Dash (that’s who the light blue hoodie is for. I can quickly and easily make a mane, ears, tail and cutie mark out of felt and hot glue, right? Tell me this will be simple. Lie to me.)
  • 5-year-old: A fairy princess (GOD BLESS YOU, FIVE-YEAR-OLD)
  • 7-year-old: A Creeper from Minecraft (just a painted box head and green clothes, right?)
  • 8-year-old: I forget what
  • 10-year-old: Arnold Schwarzenegger from The Terminator
  • 12-year-old: Two Face (there is still some deliberation about which version. I am recusing myself from that debate, on the grounds that I don’t care)
  • 14-year-old: An elven princess who enjoys sewing her own costumes!!!!!!!!!
  • 15-year-old: This guy from Die Hard:

PIC “now I have a machine gun ho ho ho”

 

I am torn about this one. Yes, it’s an easy costume. And yet . . .

  • And the 16-year-old is putting together a Kakashi Hatake costume. That’s all I know about that, except for the yelling.

And what are we going to do about the school-appropriate costumes? I think they will all just have to be paper foxes, and like it.

 

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Don’t bubble-wrap your kids

PIC deformed tree

My son, who is twelve, recently wanted to buy a comic book, and as he leafed through the pages, he liked the story, but was disturbed by some of the gory images he saw. The comic book guy reassured him that he would get used to it over time. And I agreed. Sure, you can get used to it, and eventually it wouldn’t even bother you any more. But why would you want to do that to yourself?

Read the rest at the Register. 

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Kids and the occult: what’s your policy?

In my post for the Register about the Black Mass that will be reenacted at Harvard, I included this paragraph:

Satan is real, and he is not fussy. He doesn’t care if you are kidding or not when you call him by name. This is why I tell my kids to stay far, far away from participating in anything occult — ouija boards, tarot cards, etc. — even if it’s just a game.  An invitation is an invitation, and Satan doesn’t stand on manners. You may not see Exorcist-style special effects when the Father of Lies creeps into your life. You may not realize anything has happened to you at all, as the rift between you and God slowly gets deeper and wider.

Predictably, someone responded with this comment:

Seriously? Ouija boards? Tarot cards? What other things made by Parker Bros. are we supposed to be a afraid of? Are the kids not allowed to dress up for Halloween? How worried should we be about that Harry Potter fellow?

A fair question.

As with so many other things, we try to find that middle way when dealing with occult-ish things in our family. We don’t want to be screaming meemies who hide under the rug every time someone says the m-word (magic); but we want to make sure our kids don’t innocently slide into something truly dangerous.

There are three categories of things that raise questions:

Things expressly designed to make contact with spirits other than God or the saints or angels. This includes tarot cards and ouija boards – and just because Parker Brothers is dumb enough to put out a kiddie version of these things doesn’t mean they’re harmless. They are explicitly occult, and, as I said in the Register post, the devil doesn’t care if you are just kidding, or don’t understand what you are doing. An invitation is an invitation; and Catholics are, in fact,expressly forbidden to get involved with this kind of thing, so there’s not much to decide. Listen to your mother!

Things which once had or may have had occult or pagan origins, but have changed or been “baptized,” and now signify something else. The gleeful celebration of Halloween, complete with skulls and bats and gore, falls into this category. My husband and I make decisions about these things on a case-by-case basis, and sometimes decide to pull away from creepy stuff for a while if it seems like it’s having a bad effect on the kids, or if it crosses the line into true perversity. But “spooky” is not the same as “occult,” and the Church has a long history of facing death and fear head-on; so it’s entirely possible to be a good Catholic and still enjoy scary stuff. I talk about this in a few posts: Twofer Costumes for the Conflicted Catholic Family;  Do Brains Break the Communion Fast?    and Twelve Movies to Terrify Your Kids.

Yoga also falls into this category. If it’s just exercise, it’s just exercise, and if it calms you down, super — and I think 99% of Catholics who do yoga are doing fine. If you’re trying to find spiritual enlightenment through yoga, though, I’d be wary. The Church has that covered already. Mind/body stuff is weird. It’s not for nothing that the sacraments use materials we can taste, touch, and smell. What you do with your body means something, so make sure you know what you mean!

Things which deal with or discuss magic or the occult, such as the Harry Potter books. Our kids have read and enjoyed the books. My husband and I read them first, to see what all the fuss was about. We decided that, since none of our kids show any particular attraction to dark or occult things, there was no danger in letting them read about magic — especially since it was a story about goodness and love and such conquering evil and darkness and such. If I had a kid who was easily swayed, and showed an unhealthy interest in magic or new age stuff, we’d probably make a wider berth around Harry Potter (and this would be no tragedy, because the books are not exactly irreplaceable in the canon of western literature).

My son recently wanted to look up Harry Potter curses to beef up a game they were playing. So I said yes, but first we discussed how Harry Potter is clearly fiction, but some people take it more seriously than that, and that they can get drawn into dangerous waters, so we don’t want to get sucked in with them. He volunteered that, if he saw anything that looked at all weird or fishy, he’d shut the window immediately (which he actually does).

Dungeons and Dragons (etc.) is in this category, too. Some of our kids play it with other kids who are decent and grounded, and just want to have fun imagining crazy and exciting stuff. I would not let my kids play it with a group of kids who were fascinated by the occult in general.  You get out of it what you put into it.

People who argue that the Narnia or Lord of the Rings books are dangerous are simply not serious people, and when they want to talk about this stuff, I have to go clean out the lint trap of my dryer, because it’s more edifying.  I have, however, noticed a lot of books aimed at middle school girls which tell the stories of wise girls who understand the ways of the earth and herbs, etc. etc., and harsh, suspicious men, especially clergy, want to quash and oppress them. These are ideas which can seep into young imaginations and wreak all kinds of havoc (and they tend to be stupid books anyway), so I’ve asked my kids to stay away from these. Scorn is a powerful teaching aid.

*****

Overall, we keep a sharp eye out, and reevaluate often what we will and won’t allow in the house. And we talk, talk, talk about it, and try to keep a sense of humor. If parents freak out when kids do something that might be wrong, kids will not go to parents for help when there is something wrong. There is a lot of weird stuff floating around, and kids need to be taught a healthy sense of caution, without making them afraid of the dark.

How about you? How do you handle this in your house? Has your thinking or approach changed over the years?