Middle School

 

 

 

He can’t look me in the eye just yet.

 

I’m five foot seven, after all, and he’s still only 11.

 

But his feet are decidedly bigger than mine. His legs are as long as his dad’s. And I’ve caught him examining his abs at various angles in a hand mirror.

 

He’s growing up, this man-child of mine, and he’s headed to middle school this year.

 

 

IMG_20160818_095558

 

 

For the most part, I have no worries about this. Confident, clever, and self-assured, A. is the kind of kid who acclimates easily. He is unafraid to ask questions and has an excellent memory. I needn’t worry about him getting lost or overwhelmed.

 

Despite his awkward social start in life, he’s found his way there, too, and is well-liked by his peers. The boys respect his brain and speed and the girls mostly gush about “how tall!!!” he is. So I don’t really worry about that, either.

 

He’ll do fine. I know this. He knows this, too.

 

But, still.

 

He pushes his watermelon around his plate, picking up some of the cinnamon sugar that scattered from his toast. I cringe inwardly at the thought of how sweet that must be, but keep my expression mild.

 

“I don’t know if I’m excited about it or not, Mom. The whole going to middle school thing.”

 

I look up, inviting more, without saying anything.

 

“On the one hand, I can’t wait to join the cross country team and get home from school earlier. That’s cool. But, you know… we only get a really short recess in 6th grade. And… I don’t know… I just want to be a kid. The whole being a kid thing… I don’t want that to stop.”

 

I walk over to stand next to him. Kiss his cheek because I can’t stretch to kiss the top of his head anymore. Yank him against my side.

 

“You’re still a kid, buddy. I know that. You know that. And the middle school knows that, too. You’re gonna do awesome.”

 

He moseys off to find his sisters, his lanky, loping form crossing the room in a staggeringly small number of steps.

 

And I swallow hard.

 

He IS going to do awesome.

 

Let’s see how his mama does.

 

 

 

 

Facebook Twitter Stumbleupon Email Tumblr

A Mish-Mosh Menu Plan

 

 

We’re still in the heart of summer here.

 

 

Our schedules are an odd blend of busy and relaxing these days. Swimming lessons carry on, four days a week. Gymnastics and karate are still happening. We’re starting to try to cram in special events and gatherings that somehow just hadn’t gotten done yet. Amusement park trips, play dates, and beach days. These are things we’re trying to fit into our summer. In between, we’re enjoying morning hikes, afternoon pool splashing, and late evening board games. It’s nice to have those lingering moments of peace.

 

With such a mish-mosh schedule, it should come as no surprise that the menu plan is also a bit of a mish-mosh. Comfort foods mingle among ethnic flavors. The slow cooker gets put to work. It’s an odd conglomeration, but it’s working for this season… and, really, that’s what matters, right?

 

 

So, here’s what we’re eating this week…

 

you gotta eat

 

 

Sunday: 

B–Cereal, Clementines, Milk (before 7:30AM Mass)

Brunch– Chocolate Chip Orange Muffins, String Cheese, Water (out on our hike!)

 

sundayhike

 

Mid-afternoon Snack– Triscuits and Cheese

D–Hawaiian Pork at Bama & Papa’s (along with sides and dessert that my kids helped prepare– we dropped them off early, they helped make dinner, we came to eat, and then we left them there for an overnight :)  )

 

Monday: 

B–Honestly? It was just me. My kids were at my parents’ house. My husband was at work. I ate a pizza of cold pizza and drank coffee. Just keepin’ it real, folks.

D–Cold Ginger Peanut Noodles (This dish is adored by all three kids and me; my husband heats it before eating. He does the same thing with pasta salad. He just can’t abide cold noodles, I guess.)

 

Tuesday: 

B–Muffins, Fruit, Milk

D–Broccoli Cheddar Soup  (I know there are many who don’t do soup in summer months; I’m one who loves it year-round. Plus, it’s a great slow cooker meal.)

 

 

Wednesday: 

B–Egg & Tomato Sandwiches, Grapes, Milk

D–Company Cook-out

 

 

Thursday:

B–Cinnamon/Sugar Toast, Yogurt, Bananas

D–Carnitas Soft Tacos

 

 

Friday:

B–Cereal, Cantaloupe, Milk

D–Pizza

 

 

Saturday:

B–Breakfast Pizza, Cheese, Grapes

D–Fried Fish, Broccoli, Cheesy Ranch Mashed Potatoes

 

 

And that should do it!  

 

 

 

 

Facebook Twitter Stumbleupon Email Tumblr

Want some insight into teen girls? . . .

 

 

 

. . . follow them on social media.

 

 

 

As a rule, I do not become friends with anyone under the age of 18 on Facebook. I realize that Facebook’s own guidelines aren’t that rigorous, but it’s just something that’s served me well over the years. Ordinarily, people younger than that aren’t interested in “friending” me, anyhow, given that I’ve definitely achieved old lady status compared to them. The one time this has come up repeatedly is with nieces and nephews.

 

I just always waited until they turned 18. It worked.

 

Recently, we went on a vacation and caught up with my husband’s extended family in Massachusetts. It was fabulous. We stayed with his cousin, who is a decade or so older than us. Her kids are, for the most part, in their very early twenties.

 

It was so neat to spend time with all these extended family members and, wanting to continue those connections after the trip was over, I both sent and received numerous friend requests in the days immediately following.

 

And I messed up.

 

Confusing names after having met SO many people (– especially GIRLS!… oh my goodness, there were SOOO many girls!!!), I accidentally accepted a friend request from a thirteen-year-old.

 

Whoops.

 

I realized my error almost immediately, but I really didn’t want to “revoke” friend status and, frankly, I knew I could always hide some of my own stuff from her, so I decided to let it stand. I’m also friends with her father and eighteen-year-old sister, so I figured it’d be fine.

 

Once I had done that, I felt somewhat obligated to accept the (longstanding) friend request I’d received from my thirteen-year-old niece.

 

So.

 

I’m now friends with a whole smattering of girls and young ladies, ranging from thirteen to twenty-two.

 

And, people?

 

IT HAS BEEN SO EYE-OPENING.

 

Good golly, I wish you all could see these young ladies, because they’re beauties, every last one. One, a 5’9″ willowy blonde who’s a basketball superstar. Another, 5’5″ with dark, spiraling curls. Then another, this one 20, with rich auburn waves and clear light blue eyes.

 

The thing is– none of that really matters. It’s superficial (other than the athleticism I mentioned, but anyway…)

 

Here’s why I even bring it up.

 

This?

 

chalk circle

 

Is what they post.

 

liketoeat

 

And advice like this. Geared toward women about to turn 21. (Yes. TWENTY-ONE.)

 

Not16

 

 

 

I see these things, zipping on by as I scroll on through, and I feel staggered. My gut reaction is to immediately push back. No! This isn’t truth! Don’t fall for it!

 

But I watch their online dance. They bond over these things. Over their shared distaste for their own bodies. Over their dismay at not being what they think they should be.

 

These girls come from good homes, with loving, attentive parents.

 

And… still.

 

 

I’m convinced that criticizing their meme choice isn’t the way to make a difference.

 

I’m also convinced that leaving, “You’re beautiful! Stop this nonsense!” comments on them isn’t the way to change their minds.

 

 

But it’s become increasingly important to me to model edifying, encouraging self-talk. To praise the many amazing talents and facets of these young ladies (– and, yes, including their physical beauty. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that as part of the whole package.)

 

I want them to know that, while it’s normal to feel unsure and insecure and inadequate, it’s important to know that those feelings don’t define you. And it’s SUPER important to know that — brace yourselves, teens–

 

THESE ARE NOT THE BEST YEARS OF YOUR LIFE.

 

Seriously.

 

Let that pressure lift right off your shoulders. Feel the sweet relief knowing that life gets BETTER. Turning 21 doesn’t mean you fall apart. Turning 30 doesn’t mean you stop having fun. Turning 40 doesn’t mean you’re old. So relax.

 

 

I never wanted to have teenage friends on Facebook.

 

But I’m really kind of glad I do.

 

Turns out, they’re teaching me a lot.

 

 

 

 

Facebook Twitter Stumbleupon Email Tumblr

Post-Vacay Cooking Plan!

 

 

 

Last week found me lazing around the Massachusetts shore with my extended in-law family.

 

My sisters-in-law and their families, plus my mother-in-law, all traveled out from Indiana and we convened at a beach house my husband’s cousin was renting. While we were there, all sorts of other Massachusetts relatives came and went, none of whom we’d seen since our wedding, and that was just a whole lot of fun.

 

(Random tidbit: I have a special place in my heart for my husband’s Massachusetts relatives. Way, back when he and I were dating, I attended my now-sister-in-law’s wedding. Over and over and OVER again, the Indiana relatives would ask him– right in front of me– “What, you couldn’t find a nice Midwestern girl???” It was maddening! And also pretty hurtful. But the Mass relatives? Why, they thought is was just peachy that their Indiana boy had fallen for a New England girl. ;) I haven’t forgotten them for that.)

 

Anyway, we had a really amazing time and the reality is… I didn’t cook a thing while we were there. I ate super well, but I wasn’t doing the food prep.

 

Alas, we are back home and back to reality and, if I’m honest? I’m kind of happy to be back in the kitchen. I missed having my hands in the cooking!

 

Of course, as is always the case when we return from weeklong trip, the fridge is nearly bare upon our return, so a quick ALDI run was required. With that in place, here’s what’s been hittin’ the table this week:

 

 

menu plan

 

 

Sunday: 

B–Cereal, Cantaloupe, Milk (for the kiddos, before 7:30AM Mass)

Brunch– Omelets, Clementines

Mid-afternoon Snack– Cookies and milk

D– Fettucine Alfredo with California Veggies

Monday: 

B–Cereal, Mixed Fruit, Milk

D–Crunchy Beef Tacos with all the fixings

Tuesday: 

B–Cinnamon toast, yogurt, fruit, milk

D–Fusilli with Meat Sauce & Ricotta, Green Beans

Wednesday: 

B–Oatmeal, Grapes, Milk

D–Shepherd’s Pie

Thursday:

B–Baked Oatmeal, Clementines, Milk

D–Homemade Chicken & Rice Soup

Friday:

B–Eggs, Apples w/ PB, Milk

D–Cheesy Beans & Rice (<– This is our usual Wednesday fare, but my husband and I are planning to go out this night, so it’ll be an easy, and popular, meal for the kidlets.)

Saturday:

B–Pancakes, Bacon, Fruit

D–Pizza (<– usually a Friday thing, but, again, date nights merit some shifting!)

And that’ll do it!

I’d love to know…

What’s your favorite thing you’re cooking this week?

Facebook Twitter Stumbleupon Email Tumblr

Kind & Brave

 

 

Last week, my children participated in Summer Spirit, which is our church’s version of VBS. This year, they had a “service” theme and they, literally, spent their days weeding, harvesting, sewing, cooking, and otherwise working to help support various organizations in our community. They honestly loved it so much.

 

Anyway, as is the tradition with this program, on the last day, they handed out what I like to call “The Superlative Awards.” Some of you might recall a couple years ago when A. was given the “Smartest” award and I wrote a post about it. These always make me giggle just because they seem so counter-cultural these days, but it’s still fun to see what the counselors saw in my kids over the week they spent with them.

 

This year, A. came home with “Most Helpful.” Can’t say that didn’t make me happy. I hope very much to be raising helpful children who contribute to society.

 

C. earned herself “Best Singer.” (I may have to delete this post when C. gets older, but I’ll confess to you all that this made me giggle a LOT because, of my three children, C. is the least musical.) She is a happy, enthusiastic participant and, as one of the “older” grades of campers, I think that really makes her stand out.

 

And then there was my G. (whom we call by a nickname that starts with “E”, just to confuse things around here.)

 

G. came home with a shy, but proud, smile.

 

“My counselors said they couldn’t pick just one for me.”

 

 

kind&braveG

 

 

Kindest and bravest.

 

Friends… if the past few weeks of horrible violence and political spats have taught me nothing else, it’s that this world dearly needs more kindness and bravery.

 

Be kind. Yes. Always and abundantly. Throw kindness around like confetti, as they say. Let it land everywhere and don’t worry if it gets swept aside– you did your part just by throwing it out there.

 

Be brave. Do hard things. Speak up when silence is so much easier. Bravery isn’t standing tall when you’re feeling large and in charge– it’s reaching down to help when others feel small and unheard.

 

Kindest.

 

Bravest.

 

“I think I can do more, Mommy,” she murmured to me when I kissed her sleepy cheek before bed. “It’s not so hard to be brave once you realize it really has nothing to do with you.”

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook Twitter Stumbleupon Email Tumblr

When Places Become Wishes

 

 

 

Way back, in the first month of 2005, I gave birth to a bouncing baby boy.

 

He was healthy. He was joyful. And his birth marked a whole new chapter in my life.

 

For the first time since I’d reached adulthood, I was not working outside of the home.

 

The bank I’d worked at was generous with their paid leave, by U.S. standards, and provided eight weeks paid maternity leave.

 

I knew I wanted more.

 

As our bond with our precious son grew ever stronger, my husband and I also realized something else– we craved family. Extended family. Though we had lived many, many states away from our parents and siblings from the time we’d turned 18, we suddenly felt compelled to be nearer to them. There was something about having a baby of our own that made us want to realign those branches of the family tree.

 

We had a choice to make–

 

  • We could stay where we were in our pretty Virginia home. I could stay home with him, but we were far from family.
  • We could move back to my home state of Connecticut. It was beautiful and my parents and sister were there, but it was super pricey and I’d have to go back to work.
  • Or, we could move to Indiana. We’d be near his sisters and parents and we could easily make it on just his salary.

 

When we learned his dad was battling stage 4 lung cancer, the best choice became readily apparent.

 

IMG_20160714_085131

 

 

And moving to Indiana became the dream. It became my fondest wish. 

 

When our son was four months old, we packed up and moved halfway across the country.

 

Two months later, we learned we were expecting our second child and said goodbye to my father-in-law, all in the space of a couple days.

 

 

When people ask me how I liked Indiana, my emotional response is so strong. If I’m honest, I’ll tell you that those were lonely years for me. I lived out in the country in an old farmhouse, pregnant, while caring for an infant. Being land-locked challenged me. I never did take to 4-wheeling or mudding or even camping, for that matter.

 

But those years are precious to me. There, I had my last sweet weeks with my beloved father-in-law. I learned to garden. I birthed two daughters. I found my voice and shared it with the world over a dial-up internet connection.

 

Sometimes, places become wishes.

 

And, if we’re some of the lucky ones… those wishes come true. And leave memories in our hearts forever.

 

IMG_20160714_085019

 

 

 

Do you have a place that holds a special place in your heart? Is it where you grew up, somewhere you love to visit, a dream vacation? Well, guess what?

 

Cents of Style has the perfect necklace to keep those places close to your heart!!

 

minnesota

 

And, just for today’s Fashion Friday special, you can choose your favorite State Necklace for just $11.99 + FREE SHIPPING.

 

This necklace is a lovely, easy-to-wear length and layers beautifully, making it a super on-trend accessory. If you decide to add it to your jewelry wardrobe, I’d love to know which state you chose and why! Tell me your stories in the comments, friends…

Facebook Twitter Stumbleupon Email Tumblr

Protecting Those Peepers

 

The Aces information, product and additional gift pack have been provided by Aces.

 

 

 

When I think back to my own childhood, I don’t really remember ever wearing sunglasses. There are probably three big reasons for that:

 

  1. Sunglasses weren’t much of a “thing” for kids back in the early 80s; let’s face it– the SPF 8 was considered the “strong stuff” reserved for only the palest among us.
  2. By the time I was in first grade, I wore prescription glasses and, honestly, it would have been wildly wasteful to invest in prescription sunglasses for an unpredictable six-year-old.
  3. And, finally, once I started wearing contacts, in 7th grade, I tried out sunglasses and was dissatisfied with how I looked in them because they– surprise, surprise– hid my eyes, which have arguably always been my best feature. Yes, my friends, vanity kept me from protecting my eyes.

 

 

Anywho, these days, I wear my sunnies on the regular and I’m just tickled with all the options available to me. I’ve long ago gotten over that particular vanity and I’ve learned that, no matter what the trend-setters are saying, for me the sunglasses will always be BIG in order to actually protect my rather large peepers.

 

sunnyand75

 

So, I’ve gotten better at protecting my eyes– yay, me! I should get an adulting badge for that one.

 

My kids, however? Aren’t much better than I was as a child.

 

In their cases, it’s not so much the vanity problem, but I do have one who wears prescription glasses and, frankly, the other two just don’t think about it, either. Honestly? I’ve been known to forget about it myself.

 

But did you know that UV damage is cumulative and irreversible? That’s scary enough, but it’s also important to know that kids receive three times more annual UV exposure than adults. However, as is the case in my family, the parents are much more likely to actually wear sunglasses than the children.

 

Because of their larger pupils and clearer lenses, children are more susceptible to sun damage. To help protect from this, their sunglasses should offer 100%UVA/UVB protection.

 

Of course, all the protection in the world is useless if they won’t wear the things! Finding high-quality durable frames and a comfortable fit are essential to actually getting– and keeping!– the sunglasses on their faces.

 

About a month ago, I was told about Babiators and their Aces line, designed for the 7-14 crowd. This appealed to me since all three of my kiddos happen to fall in that age range! Here are a few of the key deets that make these glasses stand out:

 

  • Accessorized: Each pair comes with an awesome sunglasses silhouette bag and a lens cloth.
  • Safe: UV400 lenses offer 100% UVA and UVB protection and undergo rigorous testing to ensure they’re safe for your child.
  • Durable: Flexible rubber frames, and impact and shatter-resistant lenses won’t break when you bend or twist them. Trust us, we’ve tried!
  • Awesome: Mirrored lenses amp up the cool factor on the classic aviator frame and new navigator frame to help kids express their rad personal styles.
  • Guaranteed: The best part? Aces are backed by the Lost & Found Guarantee™ – if you lose or break your shades in the first year, Babiators will replace them for free. All you pay is shipping.

 

I figured we’d give it a go.

 

My oldest spends a ton of time outdoors, tossing a football, playing with his sisters, and running miles upon miles. I let him put them to the test.

 

IMG_20160612_112850

 

 

 

The verdict?

 

While A. found them comfortable and effective, he still needed to be reminded to put them on. That’s a habit that will take some time to form, of course, He was surprised how much more comfortable they were than the glasses we’ve snagged at convenience or drug stores in the past. That’s a lesson it took me a long time to learn, actually– not all frames are created equally!

 

In his own words, “These actually feel flexible and comfortable on my ears. The lenses make me look awesome. I’m glad they’re easy to care for and don’t get easily scratched, ’cause I don’t feel like I have time to be babying my sunglasses.”

 

So there you go! File that under high praise from an eleven-year-old boy. ;)

 

 

Want to win a pair of black Aces for your own little outdoorsy one? Great, because I’ve got one to give away! To be entered, simply leave me a comment telling me what your favorite thing to do in the sun is– with your little one or without! Anything goes.

 

(giveaway ends 7/2/16)

 

For more information on sun safety:

Facebook Twitter Stumbleupon Email Tumblr

Lordy, Lordy…

 

 

Welp, it was bound to happen.

 

JLturns40

 

And, to that I say…

 

YAY!!!!

 

Because you know what the alternative to getting older is? – - – Yep. And I am SO very grateful to be right here, living this wild, tough, amazing, beautiful life with those who love me best.

 

Just a couple of weeks after I turned 32, I started this blog. At the time, I had a two-year-old, a three-year-old, and a farmhouse in Indiana. Now, I have an eleven-year-old, a ten-year-old, a seven-year-old, a raised ranch in Connecticut, and a job OUTSIDE the home that brings me the perfect sort of delight to balance my work within the home.

 

I’ve loved having this space throughout all these years. While the frequency of my posting has waxed and waned– did you know that, way back in the day, I posted TWICE a day???– my joy of interacting with you all has never faded. And I don’t see that changing!

 

Thanks so much to all of you who have been here for the long haul. I am blessed beyond measure to have readers who go way, way, WAY back with me. I’m also so fortunate to have newer readers who somehow found me over the years and decided to stick around– THANK YOU!!

 

Now that I’m 40, I’m just all kinds of wise. ;) I’m kidding, of course, but I’m perfectly happy on this cusp of a new decade. It’s exciting to stand on the threshold of something brand new and survey all the options.

 

As far as the blog here goes, I’m not closing shop. My writing will likely still be sporadic because, unfortunately, I can’t promise to change that. I do hope to return to my story-telling roots over this next year; it is my very favorite kind of writing.

 

In case you were wondering, 40 feels fantastic. No complaints from me! I was well-celebrated by the (much quieter ;) ) other half of the Parenting Miracles duo.

 

I woke to coffee and a big birthday banner. While there are those who are very demure and subtle about their birthdays, I am NOT one of them. I love the banners, the FB wishes, the whole nine yards. Can’t help it!

 

The Summer Solstice fell right on my birthday this year and I can’t think of a better gift than abundant light! A close second, though, would be my husband’s informing me that we were going to the beach to celebrate my day.

 

excitedbday

 

I was a wee bit excited. (^^ That shirt says “Mermaid at <3″ and my 11yo claims it suits me perfectly!)

 

We drove to the Rhode Island shore, stopping at a deli along the way to grab sandwiches and change into our swimsuits.

 

beachbday

 

We picnicked on the sand, played in the waves, and relished the sunshine on our skins. It was delightful.

 

After all that, we checked into our hotel and then headed out to walk around the nearby village and explore the little shops. I lovity love love walking around village-y type places, so this brought me great joy.

 

Once we’d finally walked off our sandwiches and hunger came back, my husband asked me to choose a restaurant for dinner. In a popular seaside town like that one, there were tons of popular, well-advertised options. I, however, recalled seeing a ramshackle old building called Antonio’s Ristorante and decided I’d like to go there. My other half was skeptical of my choice, especially when we drove up and it seemed nearly abandoned compared to the glitzier places.

 

bdaydinner

 

As you can see, we enjoyed every bit of our supper there and he was forced to admit that my intuition didn’t fail us!

 

After that, there was ice cream and sleep and then coffee and swimming. It was a perfect balance of busy and relaxing and it suited me perfectly.

 

It is summer, which I adore, and I’m home more now, so I’m optimistic that my posting frequency will increase. If you feel compelled, please leave me a comment or drop me a quick email if there’s any sort of post or particular topic you’d like to see addressed!

 

Cheers, lovelies! Thanks for being here with me!

Facebook Twitter Stumbleupon Email Tumblr

“Playdates” vs. Coming Over

 

 

When I was a little girl, I never had a “playdate.”

 

Honestly, I probably spent as much or more time as my own kids at other people’s homes, but they weren’t arranged playdates.

 

I did not grow up in the era where we all just ran free through the neighborhood, willy nilly, without a care in the world. Growing up in the country in the 80s meant that, sure, we had a few neighborhood buddies with whom we’d play kickball or frisbee golf, but we also had school friends who lived further away.

 

Here’s how that went–

 

A friend would call:

“Hey, can you come over Friday afternoon?”
“Let me check with my mom.” ((“MOOOOMMMM! Can I go over to Tara’s house on Friday?”))

…”Yeah, sure. Mom says that’s fine. What time should she drop me off?”

 

After that, it was literally a matter of getting dropped off at the friend’s house.

 

That, alone, separates our get-togethers from the current method of mothers having in-depth text conversations about times, activities, and dietary requirements.

 

But, anyway, what was even MORE different is what we actually *did* at these times.

 

We played, sure. We played outside. We played games. We looked at magazines together. We coordinated dance routines. We built forts. We might ride bikes.

 

You know what we DIDN’T do? . . . Go places. I’m absolutely staggered by the “playdate” invites my kids receive. They really ARE more like dates! “I was thinking I could take them mini-golfing and then swing by for some pizza on the way home. They can play some Wii and then we’ll have an ice cream bar.”

 

It’s all a heck of a lot of work, to be honest.

 

I remember– vividly– a time I went to play at the aforementioned Tara’s house. I don’t honestly remember a ton about her, beyond her feathered dark hair and the fact that her little sister was named Aimee and I thought that was the most GLAMOROUS spelling of “Amy” ever.

 

Anyway, I had gone over to play and have supper. We were outside, throwing a ball onto the roof, letting it roll back down, then attempting to catch it. Lest this sound hopelessly boring to you, let me assure you that it was SO fun that a few neighbor kids had wandered over to play with us. Anyhow, I digress…

 

We were outside playing this “game” and Tara’s mom called us in. Tara and Aimee needed to put their laundry away before supper.

 

So, they did. They gathered their piles and went upstairs.

 

I was left in the kitchen where Tara’s mom was tossing iceberg in a mustard yellow bowl. She turned to me and said, “Jessie, why don’t you go ahead and set the table? Plates are on the counter, there.”

 

And so I did. I laid out the fiesta ware and carefully set a fork to the left and a spoon to the right.

 

This wasn’t an odd request. I mean, I was there to eat with them– part of the family. Didn’t it make sense that I could help with this small task?

 

I wasn’t put out by this. It didn’t in any way ruin our good time. Tara and Aimee finished their chore, came back down, we all washed up, and we sat around the table eating chicken and rice baked in cream of mushroom soup.

 

When did everything change? When did “playdates” become, I don’t know, EVENTS? When did we decide that we needed to be sure to have lots of fun, planned activities, along with snacks and food sure to please any palate?

 

When my kids get invited to others’ houses, I get floods of FB messages and texts, “Does G. like kiwi? What about cantaloupe? Does she prefer drinkable or spoonable yogurt?” “What kind of milk does C. drink? Is 2% okay? Is she allowed to have cookies?” “Will A. eat anything on his pizza or does he like just cheese? What about parsley? Does that bother him?”

And, honestly, it takes all my power to not just say, “Give them whatever! They’ll be fine! I seriously don’t CARE if she likes it– she’ll survive!”

 

I don’t. Because, you know, that’s kind of rude and yell-y to people who are obviously trying to be really considerate. But, seriously? Why all the hoops?

 

I’m not sure I have the answer to this and I don’t really expect the culture to shift overnight.

 

But, what I can tell you is this–

 

When I recall my memory of that long-ago day tossing a ball at Tara’s house until it was time to set the table… it is with great fondness. I had an AWESOME time.

 

And I’m convinced that it’s not today’s KIDS that are the difference.

 

It’s the choices we make as adults.

 

 

Facebook Twitter Stumbleupon Email Tumblr

When the going gets HOT…

 

 

 

… the hot stops cooking! (Well, baking. Really just baking. ;) )

 

It’s 90 degrees out there, people– whew! This is not typical May weather around here, but it’s not exactly unheard of, either. And, to be honest, it’s kind of fun having a nice, hot Memorial Day weekend. Some people consider this the “unofficial start of summer”, after all! (I, the purist, won’t call it summer until June 20th, but that’s just me. ;) )

 

Still, when it gets this hot this early, we don’t have window A/C units in yet. The heat is totally manageable via open windows at night, closed windows during the day, and ceiling fans. But, really… I don’t feel like baking when it’s this toasty. I did bake the pizzas last night and, man, that heated that kitchen right up. I’m trying to avoid my oven for awhile now!

 

So here’s the plan!

 

 

menu plan

 

 

Sunday: 

B–Cereal, Apples, Milk (for the kiddos, before 7:30AM Mass)

Brunch– Egg Sandwiches, Honeydew

Mid-afternoon Snack– Popcorn

D– Sunday Supper at Bama & Papa’s!

Monday: 

B–Oatmeal, Apples, Milk

D–Grilled Hot Dogs, Pickles, Chips, etc. etc. <– easy Memorial Day fare

Tuesday: 

B–Jelly toast, apples, milk

D–Penne w/ Feta and Broccoli

Wednesday: 

B–PB Toast, Melon, Milk

D–Cheesy Beans & Rice

Thursday:

B–Cinnamon Blueberry Bread, Eggs, Apples

D–Meatball Sandwiches, Broccoli

Friday:

B–Eggs, Apples w/ PB, Milk

D–Pizza (it should be cooler by now– if not? I’ll make tacos!)

Saturday:

B–Pancakes, Bacon, Fruit

D–Angelhair Parm w/ Crab and Mushrooms

And that should get me in and out of the kitchen lickety-split, without too much heat generated! :)

What’s your favorite thing on your menu plan this week?

Facebook Twitter Stumbleupon Email Tumblr

Archives