Category Archives: Food

I won’t eat it, and you can’t make me. (alternate title: photo of the week)

I call this photo: “I won’t eat it, and you can’t make me.”

Yes, he has THREE pacifiers in his mouth.

This was a failed attempt at going sans high chair.  He took one look at his plate, hopped up to get his pacifiers, then staged this little sit in. Of course, it was so cute that I couldn’t be too upset.  (His mama is a softie, after all!)

Two additional notes:

(1) We are back in the high chair now.  No more hopping up to get pacifiers at dinner.

and

(2) This is with ham, mashed potatoes, and bananas in front of him…all things he will supposedly tolerate.  You should have seen what happened when I added a green vegetable to his plate!

Love you, T.  Even when you spew half chewed peas onto my dinner : )

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Updates and photos from last month (part 1!)

So I’ve been AWOL (life has been busy!) and have been promising an update…

Here’s the short version: we’ve been having fun, which has involved a spring break “staycation”, a week recovering from that staycation (hello, laundry), a wonderful Easter, and then a great visit from Nana!

And here’s the longer version: updates and photos from our last month (part 1)…

Each girl got to pick one special “must do” for the week of spring break.  To my surprise (why did I think they would stay in my comfort zone?) E picked “make a dress for our dolls” and S picked “plant a garden”.  Holy moly.  I have no experience in either of those things.  (It did make me glad I asked however, since there is no way I would have put either one on a list of plans, and obviously they are unexplored areas of interest!)  Anyway, here we are at the fabric store…

fuzzy cell phone photo

After a “looking loop” around the store, each girl was allowed to pick out one yard of any fabric they wanted, and one foot of any ribbon they wanted.  E & S surprised me by both selecting the same fabric and ribbons.  (They wanted their dolls to match, I guess!)  T got a piece of fabric with cars on it that I hoped would become his new lovey, but alas that role was filled by the racecar and Toby train the Easter Bunny brought him.  Not conducive to sleeping – rolling over onto those loveys (especially Toby, who says “full steam ahead!” everytime T bumps him in the crib).  Oh well.  He loves them!

Anyway, here’s the dolls in their dresses.  Since I don’t know how to sew, these are more like glittery sackcloths, but they made the girls happy!

E said, “Her dress looks a little like a bathrobe, but I like it!”

Thanks to Nana who did an actual sewing lesson with the girls when she visited a few weeks after this (with a real sewing machine).  I keep a few cloths around the house for various things, and one now has random, festive stitches all over it.  An easy way to have the kids feel like they were “really sewing important things” (at least until the machine stopped working…anyone have a spare manual for a JC Penney sewing machine purchased in the mid 1980s?)  Here’s one of my new decorative cloths below.

Just look at that stitching! She’s a natural, I say! : )

We’re hoping to complete the set after (1) we figure out what’s going on with the sewing machine, and (2) Nana comes back to teach me how to thread and use it.

S’ project was the garden.  I am not a gardener, but we headed over to Home Depot (with their optimistic “You can do it.  We can help.” motto).  S & E picked out three things to plant (1) marigolds: the only flowers the deer won’t eat, (2) carrots: the only vegetable S will eat, and (3) basil: because the man who helped us said there was almost no way I could mess it up.

After hours and hours of shoveling, weeding, removing rocks, adding topsoil, planting, and lots of muddy shoes and jeans piling up on the porch, we have the smallest garden ever.  It is impressive only to me and the children.  (I promise, we truly have spent countless hours on it, but it is really only a 4 x 6 patch of ground with 12 flowers and some tiny sprouts that are either carrots or weeds…I honestly don’t know how to tell them apart, so I have no idea if I’m weeding, or ruining our only crop.  I am not kidding about this.)

The two big rocks on the left that we used to mark the rows of carrots and basil kind of look like gravemarkers for our struggling-to-survive garden. Seriously, is anything going to grow in that red clay? We added two huge bags of topsoil, but honestly, I have no idea what I’m doing.

And in the interest of internet input, can someone please click on this photo to enlarge it and tell me if any of the green things sticking out of the ground look like the beginning of a carrot-top?

OK, so if you can fight the impulse to tell me we should have added more topsoil and removed more rocks (I promise, we were removing rocks for hours…), tell me instead which of these green leaves is a carrot sprouting, and which is a weed. Carrot at the top of the photo? Weed at the bottom? All weeds? Egads. I think I’m going to go to the grocery store, buy a bunch of fully grown carrots and plant them one night after the kids go to bed and then take everybody outside to harvest them the next morning. In case you think I’m kidding with this plan, I have already done my research. Apparently, they sell carrots at Whole Foods that still have the green leafy parts on top. Score!

Anyway, the kids love watering the flowers; it has been a fun adventure, and I give us an “A” for effort.  My grandma J, who – God rest her soul – (1) won all sorts of yard and neighborhood beautification awards, (2) was in charge of all the flowers for our church for decades and (3) grew the rose petals that lined the aisle of my wedding, would applaud our efforts too.  She would appreciate that at this stage of life, we are certainly process (as opposed to product) oriented!

My grandmother would also likely laugh at the fact that the flowers we are trying to grow are in a battle to survive, while the part of our yard that received no TLC and is “supposed” to be grassy is covered in the most lush display of flowery “weeds” you can imagine.  I mean, check out the photo below.

Yes, I love them. But honestly, “My kingdom for a carrot!”

The brick wall marks the property line between our house and the neighbors.  It’s like the weeds magically stop there (much to the delight of the girls, and to the dismay of my husband).

It is uncanny. I will say that these flowers provide hours of entertainment for the children, because they are determined that none of them be chopped by the lawn mower. Every time my husband says he’s going to mow the lawn, they sprint outside to pick all the flowers and cover my kitchen in bouquets. I will miss this stage so much when they grow out of it…sigh…at least then I will know that I really did try to enjoy it all in the moment.  Bring on the bouquets, girls!

Finally, since I mentioned the racecar and train that appeared in T’s Easter basket, let me include a few photos of the holiday.  We tried to capture the meaning of the season – telling the kids an age-appropriate version of the crucifixion and resurrection (when S heard Jesus died and came back to life, she said, “Hmm.  I think that’s what I’ll do too”, then let out that little breath that almost made it sound like “Well then, that’s one less thing to worry about.  What’s for dinner?”  It was a good opportunity to tell her we can all come back to life, and live forever in heaven.  (Happy belated Easter, everyone!)

Then there were the secular celebrations.  Here we are dyeing Easter eggs

T got a plastic egg and a cup of water, and was absolutely a part of it at the age of 1!

I know you can see the plastic egg in the photo…can you also see the clear plastic cup of water he dunked this egg into for half an hour? He kept yelling out random colors while he did it, mimicking the words his sisters were saying as they dyed their eggs. I remember taking this photo. He shoved the egg right at the camera and yelled “purple!” So we have the spirit of the activity covered…we’ll work on colors next year : )

S at our church egg hunt

Hunting eggs in our house Easter morning

E & S hunting eggs on Easter morning. Note that it is still pitch black outside the windows. The kids were so excited that they woke up insanely early. Also…note to self: ask the Easter Bunny to make a quick list of where the eggs are hidden. There was one we couldn’t find for a few days, and of course it was one of the real, hard boiled eggs. Fortunately, we did find it before the smell found us! I was like Kirk in that episode of Gilmore Girls, looking for the egg…anyone else remember that episode?!

We also enjoyed spending part of the weekend with cousins and the other part with friends.  Beautiful company, beautiful weather, beautiful time.  Love all y’all!

In the “less than beautiful” category…My deviled eggs didn’t turn out exactly right…

I had promised deviled eggs, then learned that I couldn’t use the boiled Easter eggs that were hidden overnight at room temperature (health risk, apparently), so I only had the two eggs left in the fridge to work with. Me in the kitchen + no spare ingredients = no room for error/recipe for disaster. My mother-in-law gave me this awesome tray to hold deviled eggs in, and I am embarrassed to say that these eggs were so misshapen they wouldn’t even fit in the tray. Oh well. This is why no one complains when I bring pre-packaged cookies to potluck gatherings.

Between the flowers and the eggs, my grandmother would finally have to admit that I inherited absolutely none of her talents…but my admiration for those talents is ever increasing grandma!  This gardening and cooking is tricky stuff!

More updates on S’ new obsession with cooking in the next post…  Here’s hoping she has inherited my grandma’s skill as well as her interest, and that she can take over the kitchen soon!  S is actually so into cooking right now that I’m thinking of arranging an apprenticeship with my Mother-in-law, who is an amazing cook and maybe planning to visit soon.  Are you up for it Grammy?!

I’ll leave you with a photo of the laundry that accumulated while we were doing all this other stuff.  The laundry problem was exacerbated by the fact that the week after spring break was unseasonably cold, which meant I could just shove all the dirty warm weather stuff deeper into the hamper and pull out all the winter things I had just put away.  End result?  Well, check out laundry day…

There are no people in the photo because we were all basically walking around in towels by this point.

My husband, never one to complain, actually looked at the growing pile shortly after spring break, sighed, and went out and bought himself new boxers.  True story.

(And lest that be misinterpreted, know that he is actually great about helping out with the laundry and everything else around the house, but in his infinite marital wisdom realized that buying a few new boxers was probably the best investment in overall domestic contentment.  And his wife says, “amen to that”.  I don’t need a six-week retreat in Fiji.  But occasionally, I do need a week of blissfully ignoring the laundry : )

So that’s part I of our update…to be continued with part II later.  Hope everyone else is enjoying spring too!

Thank goodness this question wasn’t on the exams for my teaching certification…

So I taught middle and high school, but am unable to help my five year old with her Kindergarten homework because the questions are clearly beyond what my intellect can handle.

This past week, E was assigned to visit two businesses and answer 5 questions about each.  The first question on the list was “Does this business provide a good or a service?”

Well, since we were going to Burger King for the free St. Patrick’s Day fries anyway, I thought that would be a great place to begin our research.

Of course, while we were there, it occurred to me that I have no idea whether Burger King provides a good or a service.

Fortunately, it also occurred to me that this was not my homework assignment.  So I asked E, “Burger King…good or service?  What do you think?”

Without batting an eyelash, she told me it depended on whether you went the drive-through (and left with a good) or ate inside (enjoying the service).

Booyah!  (Does saying that make me an obnoxious parent?  Do I seem less obnoxious if I admit that I don’t know if I spelled it correctly?  Maybe I should just say it differently…Here it goes…E came up with that answer all by herself while her mother stood in the corner trying to get the cobwebs off her cognitive brain function, and I think it was an excellent answer.  I admittedly know nothing, but it seemed thoughtful and it was hers, and I was very impressed!)

Anyway, since E’s response essentially turned a multiple-choice question into an essay, and she is just now learning how to write, she still faced additional challenges while completing the assignment.

Until she decided to step back and simplify.  Her answer to the question, “Did the business provide a good or a service?”  now simply reads, “Both”.

Whew.

Then onto the next business and its set of questions, which involved a special trip to Hallmark, where E and I chatted and toured with a wonderful employee while S & T had a fabulous time destroying the displays.  I wanted E to see Hallmark in particular since in the project’s final presentation, E has been assigned to “work” in a mock card store (while her classmates man other storefronts in their creative community and the parents use pretend money to purchase goods and services from the kids).   This occurs five days from today.

I am in so much trouble, because apparently the “real work” starts next year, when E enters first grade.

Notice that I said I’m in trouble, because clearly, E will be fine.

P.S.  I do realize that this post makes me seem like a bit of an idiot, but just to prove that I’m not completely brain-fried, know that this social studies website doesn’t know whether restaurants are providing goods or services either, listing “food” as an example of a good and “fixing you dinner” as an example of a service.  And yes, I do realize that posting this now makes me appear like an idiot and a nerd, but I’m over it.  I actually think this stuff is interesting and looked it up for my own edification, NOT for any conversations with E!

Free Fries at Burger King March 17 & 18

Just a quick FYI that Burger King is offering free fries while supplies last, March 17 & 18, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  No additional purchase required.  We enjoyed ours with their holiday green ketchup…a fun, free outing with the kids!

Here’s the link:

http://www.bk.com/en/us/company-info/press/press-release2536.html

Enjoy your free fries!

Happy Chinese New Year, indeed

E’s class celebrated the Chinese New Year recently by learning about Chinese culture and eating a Chinese lunch.   Dessert was a fortune cookie for each child.

So tell me…

…if your oldest (and one of the beneficiaries on your life insurance policy) came home with this fortune in her backpack, wouldn’t you be just the slightest bit disturbed?

In case you have trouble seeing the image, it says "You will inherit a large sum of money" and has creepy smiley faces on it.

(At first I was comforted by the fact that we don’t actually have “a large sum of money” for her to inherit, but then I remembered about the life insurance and was reminded that to E, “a large sum of money” is anything more than a penny.  Ah, the joys of being 5 and alive.)

Happy Chinese New Year, indeed.

“MOM!!! LOOK!!! T is holding A BEER!”

Earlier this week, I took S (age 3) and T (18 months) with me to the grocery store while E was at school.

The shopping trip was going remarkably smoothly, largely due to the fact that we scored the elusive “red car cart” at our local Kroger.  S and T were ecstatic.

I was riding high too.  In addition to scoring the red car cart, I actually found a “sani-wipes” dispenser that had “sani-wipes” in it.  (Am I the only one for whom this is incredibly rare?)

Anyway, after I wiped down the cart and had a remarkably successful foray through aisles 1 and 2, my wave of good feeling was interrupted as I searched for taco seasoning on aisle 3.  The interruption came from S who yelled at full volume, “MOM!!!  LOOK!!!  T is holding A BEER!!!”

And indeed, it appeared he was!

S, a responsible older sister, immediately took it from him.

I, a responsible parent, immediately took a picture of her.  (What?  You think I should have taken the beer?)

Here’s the photo.  T is clearly irritated that his drink has been taken.  S is clearly saying “Cheers!”

Anyway, I was all curious about why the store would have beer on such a low shelf on an aisle next to the taco seasoning (i.e. where any kid could grab it!), but it turns out it was actually a bottle of Malta Goya, which google assures me is not alcoholic.

If only I could go back and tell that to all the people on aisle 3 who were, ahem,  “admiring” my parenting as I snapped away with my cell phone camera.

They should know that I was documenting my children’s choice to go for the non-alcoholic, high in vitamin B, carbonated beverage.

(Let’s not focus on the fact that when they grabbed it, they thought it was beer!)

The world through the eyes (and in the words) of S

S, who is used to seeing spinach salad, today looked at a head of iceberg lettuce that her grandpa was using to garnish his sandwich and said, “Look.  It’s a ball of salad.”

I do love the way that kid sees the world.

The upside, the downside (and clearly not enough of the outside)

The upside to having a gas fireplace in your house: 

easy firelight…just flip a switch and the whole family can enjoy the cozy living room.

The downside to having a gas fireplace in your house: 

someday, friends will invite you to make s’mores outdoors and on the way there one of your children will enthusiastically volunteer to “turn the fire on” and ask you to show them where the switch is.

It’s clearly time we introduced our children to more of the great outdoors.

Besides, how hard could it actually be to go camping with three children, ages five, three and one?

Don’t answer that…

Hypothetical Himalayas

So let’s say, hypothetically, that while trying to cook dinner last week I accidentally turned on the front right burner (instead of the burner that held our meal).

And let’s say that during the 10 minutes it took me to realize my mistake, that front right burner heated a dirty breakfast pan (that might have been sitting there for 10+ hours…what’s your point?…anyway…as I was saying…) that (hypothetical) front right burner heated a dirty breakfast pan and cooked the plastic spatula sitting in it.

Now let’s imagine that the spatula melted . . . covering my wonderful, used-everyday, dishwasher-safe, non-stick, very large, wedding-gift-much-nicer-than-we-would-buy-for-ourselves, fabulous frying pan in melty, spatula plastic.

Now let’s imagine (without judgment) that I reflexively took the pan and ran it under cold water, making the melty plastic solidify into a miniature replica of the Himalayas on my pan.

Does anyone know how I would get the now hard plastic off the pan without ruining its non-stick or dishwasher-safe (i.e. won’t rust) nature?

In case you were planning to suggest, “just ignore the Himalayan replica and cook in the pan as usual”, I already tried that.  It doesn’t work, since tiny bits of the plastic miniature mountain range erode into the food as I’m cooking (and after converting all of our sippy cups to BPA free models last year, I can’t quite bring myself to feed the children eggs laced with melted plastic…call me over-protective.)

Thoughts?

Or did my Christmas list just condense itself into three words: “new frying pan”?

All the world’s a fair!

We had a blast at the state fair yesterday! In addition to enjoying all the exhibits and goodies we had brought from home (a picnic, special drinks and candy!), the kids were each allowed to pick a few rides and one edible treat.  End result: roller coaster (!) ferris wheel (!), swing rides (!).  And don’t forget the ice cream (!) and cotton candy (!).  My goodness, we do love the fair : )

This was the first year the girls were able to go on rides by themselves, and they absolutely adored both the experiences and the independence.  Here they are on the swings:

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S was smiling most of the time, but I love this photo because it captures the "ooooooh!" moment so nicely!

As an extra treat, E had put some birthday money (thanks Grammy and Grandpa!) into a “horse riding bank” just waiting for an opportunity to be a real version of “Jessie the cowgirl”.  What a magical moment watching her buy a ride and treat her sister to one.  They just beamed.  A quote from E (age 5):  “I rode a horse!  I rode a horse!  I have wanted to ride a horse my whole life!”  Thank you Grammy and Grandpa!  It’s not every day you get to help someone fulfill a lifelong dream : )

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Technically ponies, but it's all the same to us. And our ride lasted a little longer than average, since they had to stop to clean up after S' when it pooped. (Double bonus, since this resulted in extra time atop the horses and a glimpse of horse poop. An exciting moment for our kids! Although less thrilling for the two cowboys on duty, I would imagine.)

The fair also offered lots of exhibits the kids loved.  They were able to

– play “farmer” (picking, weighing, and “selling” produce for toy money that they used to “buy” a bag of items)

– see our “grocery store” food actually growing (broccoli was particularly neat)

– talk to a motorized cow on a toy tractor

– have a conversation with a woman on stilts

– “fish” for the letters in their names, and

– hold a baby chicken (check out the photo below!)

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Of course, the highlight for my husband and me was just watching the kids.  These are the kids whose imaginations are sparked by a cardboard box and an hour of free time.  So you can imagine watching them transform into roller coaster-riding-adventurers, food-growing-farmers, and yodeling cowgirls yesterday at the fair.

P.S.  In an effort to keep it real (!) I should also tell you about all the missteps (and near missteps!) involved in any trip with our creative and crazy crew, but I won’t bore you with details of

(a) the sheriff that almost ticketed mom (note to self: don’t unclick the seatbelt to reach for the sippy cup right as your husband stops to ask the sheriff how to find the free parking),

(b) the display produce we almost picked off the vine

(c) our fruitless hunt for the “state’s biggest pumpkin!”, or

(d) how we spent as much time in the bathrooms as we did on the rides.

Instead, I’ll just reveal that those missteps are always part of a normal day for us, and it’s infinitely more fun to have missteps at the fair!

I’ll leave you with one last photo.  Here’s hoping this image will tide me over until next year.

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The Ferris Wheel in Kiddie Land

Can you tell from this post how much I love (that my kids love) the fair?!