Friday, April 24, 2009

Deceptively Delicious

Well, I do not own the cookbook that teaches you how to add veggie purees to meals in order to sneak nutrients into your kids. I have, however been known to add black beans to my brownies. I also showed up at last year's service auction with some racecars made out of celery and carrots. It must have been for these reasons that my friend Christi recruited me to give a mini presentation at her recipe club on the topic of "Kid Foods." I appreciated the chance to spend a little more time in the kitchen with my future chefs and decided to focus mostly on healthy kid foods, since we could all stand to eat a few more fruits and veggies around here.

I did want to include the angle of sneaking veggies into food, so as part of my research I looked up a recipe for Macaroni and Cheese with pureed cauliflower instead of butter. My kindergartener wants mac and cheese EVERY day after school. So if I could make this little substitution wouldn't she be that much better off? So I thought. I made sure she was occupied in the other room as I prepared the dish, then called her in when it was ready. This was her exact reaction:

"This mac and cheese tastes different."

"Let me see the box."

"You should have added more butter."

(We add some spray butter and a little salt, since the night before, I got her to eat the cream of broccoli soup by adding salt.)

"It still tastes bad."

"Salt came to the rescue last night, but not this time."

and her final comment...


I never told her what the difference was. I ended up giving her left over pancakes instead and eating the mac and cheese myself.

*Note- I just used a simple recipe with boxed mac and cheese- it would probably turn out better with Mrs. Seinfield's actual recipe.

The crazy tortilla face and the cute fruit and veggie flower garden, however, were much more of a success.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

April (?snow?) Showers

As a child I remember that one of my wishes after the birthday present had hit my head was that there would be such a thing as WARM SNOW. Then I could sculpt and play without the frostbitten fingertips. (The other wish was always a trampoline, which my parents promptly bought soon after I was away at college! No hard feelings though. My kids are now the thrilled recipients).

So wasn't actually warm snow, but it was warm outside, and the ground was COVERED in snow! We had to build our snow family quickly before it collapsed due to the heaviness and heat.

Here we are complete with a crawling little Nathan.

Mom and Dad were headless ten minutes later!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sweets Caroline

The first signs of spring were appearing in early March this year. We saw a robin in the backyard, we took a bike ride, we planted peas, and we got excited about crocuses appearing. Along with all of these sights was a certain magical sound. It came floating through the air one day just as Caroline stepped off the bus. She knew exactly what it was and screamed in excitement, “THE ICE CREAM MAN!!!!”

Her usual dawdling was replaced by wild sprinting straight through the house to her room where the Mason jar containing a few bills and coins sat on her dresser. Before I and the baby could reach the back door, she was out the front door panting and assuring me that she remembers my rule to stay on our street. This rule came about as a result of last years barefoot, three block ice cream man chase-down.

I looked at her and realized that no “You haven’t had lunch yet,” or “Aren’t you saving your money,” comment was going to stop her vigor today. So I went in the house to help Desi round up a few quarters of her own. Desi wasn’t actually as into it as Cara, I got talking with a neighbor, and before we knew it Caroline was back, and NOT empty handed. She looked proud as punch that she had waited and waited and FINALLY he had found her. She rubbed it in a little to Desi and went in to enjoy her spoils. I glanced at the wrapper and was surprised at the flavor she had chosen, coconut. Knowing of her distaste for this flavor, I began to question the selection but the stopped myself, not wanting to prematurely ruin it mentally for her.

She unwrapped the precious prize and took a lick. A lick was okay. Then a bite. Her eyebrows wrinkled. Her eyes widened. Her nostrils flared, and her lips transformed from an angry frown into a wide open wail! “It has COCONUT in it!” she screamed in disgust. If you have ever had something major and expensive break down like the day after your warranty expires, you may have a small inkling of the disappointment and outrage she felt. She was deceived. Shattered. Slighted. Jipped.

At this point phrases like “umbrella mom,” “logical consequences,” “impulse buying,” and “lessons of life” were swimming around in my head right along with the words “mercy,” “innocent mistake,” “heartbroken,” “rescue, ” and “love.”

“I’ll buy it from you honey,” I instinctively offered. But the question now was whether we’d be able to flag down the trouble causing truck again in time. I made the quick decision to leave Will home in charge of the youngins for a moment and told Cara to hop into the bike trailer. We took off up the road and luckily located him. Cara decided to buy from the dollar menu a rainbow popsicle that she remembered trying last year. A safe bet. And fifty cents less. She was learning.

As I pedaled home I wondered whether my rescue had been right. Then out of her mouth came as sincere a “Thank You, Mom. You’re the best.” as I have ever heard her give. She knew that I had saved her from her plight when she had not power to do so herself. I do want to teach her wise money management. It’s important for her to know that some sales are final, and sometimes in life you just miss the boat. But when we fall we need not despair, for if we humble ourselves and come unto our Savior, His grace is sufficient and his rewards are sweet above all that is sweet.

This year's cake was no disappointment. She was pretty excited. Happy 6th Birthday Sweet Caroline!