Thursday, July 18, 2019

Is it Time to Let Myself Go Yet?

Now that I'm 45, I feel like it might be time to let myself go already. To let the gray hair seep back into my hairline. To let my eyebrows grow back into their glorious unibrow. To chuck the lipstick in favor of Chapstick.

But then I get my latest People magazine, and I marvel at the 55-year-old actresses, who look twenty years younger. I used to aspire to aging gracefully. But nowadays celebrities don't even age at all past 35. Who knows how much work it is to look 35 when you're 55? I'm already tired of putting in the effort.

There's no reason to craft this fa├žade of eternal youth. I'm married with two kids. The last time I met a handsome stranger's gaze in a bar, it was because it was kids eat free night. We both smiled ruefully at each other as our kids behaved badly.

I'm not sure why women chase the disappearing beauty of youth. There certainly aren't role models of older women readily available in the movies. Women go from nymph to hag with no stopping-point in between.

But I say bring on the hagdom! I will brew pots of herbal tea. I will let my gray hair curl in wicked waves. I will wear caftans and orthopedic shoes.

Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Mom Shamin' at Dunkin'

I furtively glance around as I tiptoe into Dunkin' with my four-year-old in tow. Only a horrible mother would allow her child to consume deep-fried carbohydrates laced with sugar, right?

Even Dunkin' itself is even distancing itself from donuts. Their name is no longer Dunkin' Donuts, just Dunkin'. As if you can purchase any item for dunking into coffee.

Still, their display features rows and rows of glossy donuts. My daughter even has a favorite, which is strawberry frosted with sprinkles. I alternate between the French Cruller and the chocolate-frosted classic.

When we enter, I breathe a sigh of relief. The occasional commuter sweeps in for a coffee to go, but the rest of the shop is filled with children and their caregivers. (I always suspect the slender waifs are really nannies, but they could me mothers who are in better shape than I am.)

We sit down in a bright pink booth and nibble on our donuts. I give my daughter my phone to watch mindless YouTube videos featuring millionaires who open toys for the camera.

"Mom, how come that little girl gets to watch the phone?" a cherubic toddler asks.

"Some mommies let their kids watch the phone, but not me," the mom says.

My worry was misplaced. I'm mom-shamed for my phone instead of donuts.

Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Don't Be a Helicopter Spouse

Many articles have been written about the dangers of being a helicopter parent. However, I have to stop myself from being a helicopter spouse as well.

My husband does the chore of washing the dishes, with sometimes interesting results. I try to bite my tongue, because after all, I really don't want to do the dishes.

I normally am the farthest person from a neat freak, but neat little rows of ants marching around our sink made me morph into Wifezilla. The combination of a warm spring and dishes left overnight proved irresistible for the ants in our backyard.

Instead of letting my husband wash the dishes, I maniacally cleaned up every dish as soon as it touched the sink. My kitchen never looked so good! I almost wanted to invite people over for dinner just to admire the spotless kitchen.

However, after a week of Type-A dishwashing, I realized I had effectively taken over the chore of washing the dishes. I had to relax into my usual lackluster oversight of the dishes in order to keep my sanity.

Also, my husband called the exterminator.

Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

Friday, March 22, 2019

I Tried Rent the Runway -- with Mixed Results

After two children and countless diets, I have a closet full of dresses ranging from size eight to size 14. I haven't worn my size-eight little black dress in more than a decade, but against all advice from Marie Kondo, it's still hanging in my closet.

With a vacation to California planned, I decided to try Rent the Runway for a fresh slate of spring dresses. Unfortunately, Denver weather interfered in the form of a March blizzard, which closed schools, airports -- and interrupted mail delivery.

After more than an hour on the phone the morning of my departure, it was determined that my package was still sitting at the distribution center instead of on my doorstep. Rent the Runway automatically returned the package, but left the charge on my credit card.

Once we arrived in San Francisco, my hotel turned out to be a few blocks away from a brick-and-mortar Rent the Runway store. I happily tried on dresses, and selected a Draper James A-line dress in size XL for a $30 rental. The transaction at the store ended up being fairly easy, and I just dropped off the dress the next day. I could have kept the dress for four days, but I didn't have time for dry cleaning.

When I got home, I had to spend another 20 minutes on the phone to get the charge on my credit card refunded. All in all, I enjoyed the clothes, but it ended up being quite a hassle for the package that was never delivered. My advice would be to spring for the eight-day rental if you live anywhere with bad weather. I had planned on receiving the package the day before I left, but that might not be the best idea.

The saleslady at the store said Rent the Runway plans on opening on a Texas distribution center soon, which will hopefully make renting clothes easier for fashionistas located West of the Mississippi. Right now, all clothes are shipped from a New Jersey distribution center.

Interested in trying it for yourself? Receive $30 off your first Rent the Runway purchase. (I also receive $30.)

Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Low-fat Turkey Sausage Breakfast Strata

I love watching "The Kitchen" on the Food Network at the gym. I feel like I'm vicariously eating delicious food while burning calories. However, when it comes time to actually cook the recipes, I almost had a heart attack with the Holiday Sausage Strata recipe. I entered it into my handy-dandy fitness tracker, and the total fat came to 40 grams per serving. Total calories were 557 calories per serving. While I'm sure the original recipe is delicious, here is a lower-fat version:

4 tbsp, I Can't Belive it's Not Butter
16 slice, French Baguette
12 oz, Cheese, Gruyere
2 cup, Fat-Free Milk
3 cups Egg Beaters or other egg substitute
1 tbsp(s), Kosher Salt
1 tsp, Cracked Black Pepper
1 cup(s), Parmesan
1 lb(s), Turkey Breakfast Sausage

Spread margarine on both sides on the bread, and put 8 slices of the bread as a bottom layer of a 9x13" casserole dish. In a bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, salt and pepper. Pour 1/2 of egg mixture over the bread. Cook sausage over skillet, and layer over bread.

Sprinkle 1/2 of cheese mixture over sausage. Repeat layer, making sure to end with the cheese. Refrigerate overnight. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

The substitutions don't cut down the calories that much to 487 calories per serving, but they bring the fat content to a more reasonable 18 grams per serving. According to my local Whole Foods cheese specialist, Gruyere doesn't come in a low-fat version. (Actually, she gave me a horrified look when I asked.) To cut down the fat even more, substitute a low-fat cheese such as low-fat mozzarella.

Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Fairy Tales for Moms: Sleeping Beauty

Aurora sighed as she examined the endless piles of laundry in the castle kitchen. She could use another cup of coffee before she tackled the folding. While her household budget had plenty of room for a maid's wages, the dragon lurking outside the castle scared off most potential servants.

Earlier that morning, Aurora had trundled the twins off to school, and she had six hours to herself before they arrived back home. She mentally ran through her list of chores, and then decided she definitely needed a jolt of caffeine.

With a groan, Aurora kicked the cabinet door in frustration as she searched for the coffee beans. The cabinet door answered with a groan of its own, and Aurora poked around at the back of the cabinet in surprise, discovering a false door.

Aurora managed to squeeze in the narrow passageway, despite the extra 20 pounds she'd gained since turning 35 the year before. Dusting herself off, she looked around a small storage space. A curious contraption took up one corner, a large wooden wheel attached to some sort of pedals. Aurora gingerly approached the device, then realized it was an old spinning wheel.

With a sigh, Aurora sat down on the splintered wooden seat. Maybe she should take up a hobby. Her husband, Phillip, was always encouraging her to take an interest in something other than the girls, but her limited free time seemed to preclude new pastimes. She reached out to touch the needle, and felt a sharp sting before falling into a deep sleep.

Some hours later, a commotion ensued in the kitchen. Phillip and the twins had returned to find no supper, and were at a loss of what to do next. "Aurora, darling," he called out, sounding increasingly desperate.

The twins shimmied through the cabinet opening to find their mother sprawled out on the floor, deep in sleep. "Mom, wake up," they chimed in unison. Phillip followed suit, grumbling all the way. He bent down to kiss her tenderly, the kiss of true love. Aurora stirred briefly, then pushed him away. "Go away, I'm taking a nap," Aurora mumbled.


Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Wait, I Don't Need Bifocals -- Do I?

As I approach my 45th birthday, I have been facing the signs of aging with equanimity. I dye my hair every month and fastidiously pluck out the gray hairs from my eyebrows. I have accepted the fact my metabolism has slowed down since my 20s.

However, I didn't realize I would need bifocals so soon! This has been a major stumbling block for me. Although I squint while reading the newspaper, and may have picked up a few large-print books from the library, that doesn't mean I need bifocals, right?

Bifocals mean I am unequivocally old. Bifocals mean I am turning into my mother. Bifocals mean an AARP membership is looming in my future.

In a desperate bid to stave off bifocals, I even went to a LASIK consultation. The eye doctor rattled off a bunch of jargon, and then told me he would have to do bifocal LASIK surgery. One eye would be optimized for near distance, and another would be optimized for far distance.

Or I could both eyes lasered to 20/20 vision -- and then have to wear reading glasses anyway.

My mom assured me that no one can even tell she wears bifocals nowadays. Her blended bifocals are both discreet and fashionable, with no tell-tale line demarcating the lenses.

In hindsight, I should've also listened to my mom 35 years ago. I would sneak a flashlight to bed and stay up late reading under the covers. When she caught me, she said I was going to ruin my eyes.

Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.