» 08 April 2014 » In Kids, Parenting » 3 Comments

Normally, taking three kids to the grocery store is not something I do. One of the main perks of being a SAHM with no actual kids home during the day is being able to breeze in and out of Whole Foods on a Monday morning with spring in my step and no one banging a cart into the back of my Achilles.

But, alas, the children didn’t have school yesterday because of parent-teacher conferences and there was no way I was missing the Monday sale on house-roasted turkey breast ($10.99 a pound, yo — normally $12.99) so off we went.

Jack asked if he could push the cart and I actually said yes, which is kind of shocking but meant that was one less battle to fight, and Emmie and Maeve got to put the items in the cart. We made it all the way around the perimeter of the store and finally reached the last stop at the deli counter with everyone’s ankles intact.

I ordered the turkey and asked the kids to wait over near the chair-massage area (so relaxing for those lucky people grabbing a quick rub-down on their lunch hours), which they actually did without needing to be told twice. A grandmotherly type stopped to smile at the kids and then looked at me.

“Are they ALL yours?” she asked, chuckling.

“I think so,” I said with a smile.

“Well you’re doing a great job,” she said, patting me on the arm.

Wait, what?

I thanked her and blushed, honestly taken aback. When they were tiny, I couldn’t have imagined a day where someone would actually compliment me on the behavior of my three children. So to all the moms with teeny-tiny babies strapped to their chests and wandering toddlers and crazy older kids in tow who can’t see the light at the end of the nonsense behavior: it gets better. At least for two minutes in the Whole Foods deli section on a day off of school.

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When the big kids are away…

» 04 April 2014 » In Kids » 5 Comments

Every Thursday afternoon, Jack and Emmie stay at school for an enrichment class. Until this week, Emmie had done three quarters of dance and Jack had done chess (good for the math skillz, yo). This week, Jack continued on with chess and Emmie moved on to Garden Gnomes.

At first, I was confused and thought she was filming one of those Travelocity commercials with the gnome, but then I realized she would be doing actual gardening in the school garden, so I was slightly less excited. But she brought home a lima bean seed that she is now tending like a newborn, so she’s over the moon about the switch. I was instructed to “check on my seed at lunch, OK, mommy? And make sure you give it a little bit of air and that the paper towel doesn’t dry out.” Ahem.

But while the big kids are off having enriching fun with their friends, the youngest gets Mommy and Maeve Time. And oh, does she love it. Yesterday, I picked her up on the playground and reminded her she got to choose whatever we did for the next 90 minutes.

“I just want to go home whish you,” she said. (The “whish you” always kills me.)

“You don’t want to go to Costco?” I asked hopefully, trying to kill two birds with one stone.

“No, I want to go home,” she said emphatically.

So away we went and when we arrived, she asked if we could make pumpkin bread. I always have the ingredients on hand for pumpkin bread, so I agreed and she was beyond excited to be the only one there to help measure and pour and mix. Normally, she only gets one-third of those chances and I assure you, that’s a total bummer when you’re 4 years old.

She even got to lick the bowl afterward and excitedly told Jack and Emmie all about it when we picked them up. As a total bonus, I can now parent by bribery even more than I already do because all I have to say is something like, “If you pick up all the toys in the basement, you can have a piece of pumpkin bread” and LEGOs and Barbies are flying through the air like missiles.

Not to go all Pioneer Woman on you or anything, but I make an outstanding pumpkin bread. My friend, Erin, she who zeroes out her inbox each day (unlike me, who has 212,238 messages in my inbox dating back to November 2004) said it’s awesome enough that the recipe I e-mailed her six years ago was granted permanent in-box status. Now that’s friendship. And also deliciousness.

I urge you to run to your kitchen and make this now. You won’t be disappointed. The kids sure weren’t last night.

Amy’s Organic Pumpkin Bread
3 1/2 cups organic flour (I use 100 percent whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon organic nutmeg
2 teaspoons organic cinnamon
2 cups organic canned pumpkin (I use one box and call it close enough)
1 cup organic canola oil
2/3 cup water
4 organic eggs
3 cups organic sugar (I use 2 cups and no one is the wiser)
Nuts, raisins, or dates may be added (which is gross; I like a pure pumpkin bread, but your tastes may vary)

Sift all dry ingredients in a large bowl (no, really, it makes a huge amount). Combine all liquids and slowly add to dry ingredients stirring all the time until smooth. Add nuts, and/or raisins if desired.
Grease several small bread tins or a two regular-sized tins and fill half full. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Larger loaves may require slightly more time. (I baked two small loaves and one large at 325 degrees in my convection oven for an hour and they came out perfectly.)

I usually leave a loaf out to eat and freeze the rest. If you take a loaf out of the freezer before you go to bed and leave it to thaw on the counter overnight, it will be ready for breakfast in the morning.

Maeve liked both the finished and unfinished products. And yes, I let my child eat raw eggs. She’ll be fine.


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Emmie can’t Let It Go

» 31 March 2014 » In Kids » 9 Comments

This weekend, one grandma invited the girls to spend the night at her house and the other grandma invited the boy to stay at her house and Josh I couldn’t get on the phone fast enough to make dinner reservations with our friends. After a lazy day of watching NCAA basketball and Girls (season three is 18 million times better than season two, FYI), Emmie FaceTimed me to say hi.

When she inquired what Daddy was doing, I had a stroke of genius and quickly whispered and pointed to Josh and the other side of the living room. He leapt across the ottoman and quickly gathered the necessary materials.

“Where’s Daddy?” I repeated to Emmie. “Oh, he’s right here. Hold on.”

I flipped the camera on my iPhone to reveal Josh playing with the Elsa and Anna dolls. Emmie’s face went from smiling to horrified in 2.5 milliseconds.

“Daddy! What are you doing?!” she yelled, half-laughing, half-alarmed.

“Oh, nothing,” Josh said, making the dolls face each other and jump up and down. “Just playing with Anna and Elsa. Anna, do you want to build a snowman?”

“Daddy, that is NOT Elsa! That is Anna! Elsa doesn’t want to build the snowman!” Emmie was seriously incensed at this mix-up of Frozen protocol.

“Let it go, let it goooooo,” Josh sang in a high-pitched voice, the Anna doll swaying back and forth.

“Daddy, Anna does NOT sing ‘Let It Go!’ She doesn’t have any powers. She’s not in the ice castle.” Emmie is now perturbed.

“Hi, I’m Elsa, do you want to play with me?” Josh asked in the same sing-song voice, showing the camera the Anna doll.

“That’s not Elsa!” Emmie screamed. “Put her down, she’s mine!”

“Listen, these are my dolls and when I play with them, I can make them anyone I want. So this is Elsa.”

At this point I was laughing so hard tears were running down my face and I was so, so sorry that I didn’t have the capacity to film it and put it on YouTube.

“Daddy, put them away,” Emmie begged.

“Nope, I’m playing with my toys. I have to go now. Bye!”

A few minutes later we did almost the exact same thing to Jack, but instead of playing with Frozen dolls, we flipped the camera to show Josh playing Jack’s favorite video game on the Xbox.

“Hi Daddy,” Jack said, doing a double-take. “Wait, is that Skylanders?”

“Hey buddy, yep, it’s Skylanders,” Josh said, his fingers pushing buttons on the controller.

“Wait, ware you playing my game?” Jack said, a weird smile on his face, but panic in his voice. “Daddy! Daddy, don’t go too far on it!”

“Oh, I already won the game and started over,” Josh said.

“What?” Jack practically shrieked.

“Daddy’s kidding,” I interjected.

“Oh, so he didn’t win?” Jack asked.

“No, but he killed all your guys.”

God, I can’t wait until they’re teen-agers. This is going to be so fun.

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