families

Can This Marriage Be Saved? He’s a Lousy Stepfather

December 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm , by

Combining homes with a new husband can be tough (“No, dear, I don’t actually store the clean silverware in the dishwasher), but blending families with kids offers even more unexpected hurdles. You just don’t know how things will shake out until everyone is under one roof, trying on new roles with names that start with “step.” This is what happened to Sheila and Will, and Sheila’s 8-year-old daughter Ashley. After the couple got married, and Will became the new family patriarch, things got trickier than expected. How did they make it work? Read our recap and check out the full version of the story here.

Shelia’s Turn: When Shelia and Will were dating, he seemed like he loved kids, especially Ashley. He’d bring her presents, play games with her, and he seemed psyched at the idea of becoming part of their little family. But after the wedding, things took a turn. Will suddenly became a super strict stepdad, scolding Ashley for watching too many cartoons, constantly picking fights and punishing her for offenses as small as spilling milk. Sheila’s thought about leaving Will, but soon after they married, they had a son, Billy. Will adores his well-behaved boy (and having Billy is the only thing that makes him happy since he hates his job as an accountant), but Ashley, well, hates him. Shelia doesn’t know what to do—her daughter is miserable, but leaving her husband might mean losing her son, which would be devastating.

Will’s Turn: Will was so excited to be a male role model in Ashley’s life. He didn’t just want to be a guy living in her house; he wanted to treat her like his own daughter, which, to Will, meant giving Ashely more rules and structure. He’d always felt that Shelia was too lenient with Ashley, that the girl could use some boundaries to improve her behavior and help her learn responsibility. But after the wedding, Will was surprised that Sheila didn’t want him defining Ashley’s upbringing, and now he’s upset that she’s constantly undermining his parenting tactics. If Will takes away Ashley’s TV privileges or tells her to clean up her room, Shelia just lets Ashley do what she likes and does the chores herself. What gives? Will and Billy are a perfect pair, but Ashley won’t even give him the time of day, and that’s not what Will signed up for. At this point, he’d rather take his son and go.

Read more


A Peanut Butter Sandwich Worth $25K

March 30, 2010 at 4:32 pm , by

$25K PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICHPeanut butter and mayo isn’t a combination I’d normally try, but it sure is creative—so creative that it earned one 10-year-old a $25,000 scholarship from Jif and four other kids a $2,500 scholarship. The kids were competing to come up with the most creative peanut butter sandwich in Jif‘s 8th annual Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich Contest.

Grand prize winner Rachel G.’s “PB & Fruity Say “’Let Us Rap,’” (complete with mother and daughter posing back-to-back after serving the wrap), impressed the judges the most—but she had tough competition from other creations like Stephanie H.’s “Chickenchita” and Lauren W.’s, “Peanut Butter and Banana Quesadilla with Fresh Fruit Salsa.”

During the competition, the sous-chefs (aka parents!) said that cooking together was a good way to encourage their kids to explore their creativity and help parents and children communicate better. After all, how else could Maria M. come up with a “Peanutty Cristo Breakfast Sandwich” if she didn’t have the opportunity to prepare and test different recipes alongside her mom in their kitchen?

Kids often get attached to wacky food combos—what kind of unique recipes have you and your kids come up with?