This is not something you'll hear from me very often: "Parenting: win!", but in this case I think it applies. I want to share with you my feel-like-a-GOOD-mom story, because I think that I often tend to focus on the situations that could be considered parenting: fail(s)!
This summer I told the kids that for every 100 pages they read, they could choose the menu for one meal. Gregory read 100 pages in one day, and the next night for dinner we had his favorite -- beef stroganoff. I had to increase his required reading to 200 pages. It took Ruthie a few days to reach 100 pages, and I made pizza for her dinner. Soon, Gregory read 200 more and we had grilled chicken...etc...
Here's the deal, I'm not a great cook! It would be easy to think of all this requested cooking as a hardship, but it wasn't and here's why: during these meals, the kids gave me all kinds of wonderful loving props for making the food they love. The compliments were flying!! Also, the kids were proud of themselves for earning it! Win-win!!
The clincher, though, was this: while eating one of his favorite meals, Gregory said, "Our mom has the best summer reading program in all of St. Louis!"