Dedication

(This was written for my summer league team and will be posted on our website, http://www.heritageoakstorpedoes.com)

Years ago during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games there was a commercial. I think it was for laundry soap or something (I will look it up and post a link to it at the bottom). The commercial showed various athletes; gymnasts, soccer players, swimmers going to practice day after day after day. But what the commercial really focused on was the mothers of these young athletes. Early mornings thick with blackness highlighted these mothers waking early – earlier than their athlete children – cooking, cleaning and yes, washing. Nasty, soaking wet towels, sweaty socks, work out gear and oh right, the rest of the family’s clothes as well. The scenes spanned the lives of these young athletes and with the companionship and encouragement of their mothers, going to practice, training for hours, coming home, eating, doing their homework on the bus, the train, in the car, whenever there was a a scant 15 minute window to get the calculus problem done or ten pages of that AP Lit novel read. Being Olympic season, it of course culminated with the moms and dads (but highlighted the moms) watching proudly from the stands as the athlete stuck the landing or touched out the competition by a fingernail. 

This my friends, is dedication. But not just of the athletes, of the moms too. Both sides have different goals but are no less dedicated to those goals. 

No matter how hard we try, most of us will not end up in the Olympic Games. It’s a fact. But this cold hard reality check in no way means that we shouldn’t strive for dedication in all that we do. Yes, sometimes this means doing what my family and all the other families on our year round team do, waking every morning during the summer at 5am for practice and weight training. Or committing to the doubles, or the drive to the pool three times a day. Sometimes though, it means prioritizing your family and eschewing sports or other activities for the good of the unit. Sometimes it simply means setting a small goal (or even a large one that will take years) and slowly chipping away at it, hour by hour, day by day. 

Dedication comes in all forms. Research papers. Research in general. Family. Your faith. Your grades. A perfect flip turn, bucket turn or spin turn. A non-stop 50 fly. 100 fly. 200 fly. The point is, pick a goal or three and be dedicated. Work at it every day. Think about it, assess and reassess. Set your bar high and refuse those who tempt you to lower it because of their own insecurities. Recognize the nay-Sayers as people who are so insecure with themselves and their fear of failure that they try to drag others down so that everyone is like them. Do not back down. Grab your goal with two hands and hang on. 

True greatness … whatever your personal definition … comes only with dedication. 

http://youtu.be/2V-20Qe4M8Y

Posted in caregiving, Children, Life, Parenting, Swimming, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

The Care and Keeping … of Me

imagesEmma and I have been prom dress shopping over the last two weekends and our last two (unexpected and unnecessary) snow-no-snow, ice-no-ice days. Over the course of our excursions, we have purchased six, yes … six prom-appropriate dresses, with the idea that she would bring them home and fall in love with one. She argued that it would be more work for me to return them, and while that is true, the process of returning the unwanted dresses will require me to go downtown and drive around, I choose look at it as an opportunity to have lunch with husband one day next week. Plus, I rarely get to spend one-on-one time with my kids and we had fun going to fancy stores and getting exclusive treatment.

Oh, and Mexican food, always Mexican food.

In the end, Emma fell in love with a dress she never even tried on because it was a designer couture gown, costing $900 (more than my wedding dress and CONSIDERABLY, ridiculously over the budget). She has managed the inevitable (and something I swore I wouldn’t do) – securing from me a promise to make her dress (groaning here because while I am good at making drapes and other home goods, apparel for anyone over the age of 5 has always frustrated me). However, we found a reasonably simple pattern and have decided that Emma will create her own version of the designer gown.

I say all this because one of my goals in dress shopping with Emma was to teach her the value of simplicity. I agree, the purchase of six dresses seems a convoluted way of teaching this, (but remember? I had an ulterior motive there – see lunch date with husband, above). More than the actual number of dresses, though, there is nothing like seeing for yourself the difference between truly simply beautiful and truly obnoxiously overdone to teach this lesson. What makes a dress beautiful after all? The cut, the fabric, and the person wearing it. If any of that is over done, beauty has been eclipsed in favor of … more. And we all know more is almost never better, it is simply more. (Yes, I KNOW … six prom dresses … but it was fun!)

Simplicity as a life skill is something I am trying to grasp these days. I am making a conscious effort to try and impart simpleness into as much of my life as possible. As a mother of 6 athletes (plus the one in college who simply doesn’t eat enough), this sometimes seems nigh impossible. The carpool alone is enough to boggle the mind of the four other mothers + my mom + 3 fathers I share this responsibility with. The food necessary for the care and keeping of 6 athletes and growing children is another. Deciding what to make for dinner is a daily frustration that I am so over (I have a plan for this, by the way, see the bottom of this post).

Today is Ash Wednesday. In my Catholic faith, it is the beginning of an examination process with the intent being to come out the other side renewed, refreshed and closer to God because of a 6-week period of introspection. I have decided to use this period of time to put into practice my new goals. Bestie and I have had many discussions lately on what we are actually trying to achieve with each of our kids and our families in general. She has one going to college next year and the practice of trying to teach her senior (before said senior is struggling with the proverbial swim of life on her own) how to take the reins of her own decisions. She and I both have juniors as well, and have learned from past mistakes better how to help them manage this process next year (simplifying it, if you will), when they will be in the same position.

Simplicity has been a recurring theme for us as mothers. Not only are we trying to teach our kids how to be efficient and productive adults, we have had to turn the tables on ourselves and our own tactics, realizing that holding the reins too tightly in all that we do does nothing but agitate the metaphorical horses pulling our metaphorical carts.

Letting go, not just for Disney fans, apparently.

This is harder than it might seem, after all, I have this house of cards built that one misplaced sneeze could flatten. Or maybe I don’t? Maybe the house that I’ve built is stronger than I think and all it needs is more sensible and skilled builders whose ideas are good and smart and valid. Maybe I need to let go of the process a little in order for those builders to be able to create something amazing. Does this mean that I will step away from my kids and let them run willy-nilly? Absolutely not, but all good leaders delegate and model good decisions. What am I teaching my children when I impart my opinions (both nicely and sometimes not-so-nicely) just because I feel the desire to voice them? Better to do exactly what I tell them to do.

Stop. Think. Succeed.

At the very least, count to ten before I let loose with the snark (this will be very hard for me as Sarcasm is my middle name). If I can model the decision making process, and count to ten before speaking, or say (slowly and with purpose), “You should know that I love you and will always love you no matter what, but I am not thrilled with your decision because logically …” before every disagreement, then I am both teaching and modeling the behavior I want them to have. (The speech thing was Bestie’s idea, by the way.)

Simple, right?

Yeah, probably not as simple as I think, but hopefully it will become a habit and I will be able to settle my constantly thrumming blood pressure more easily. As for my new dinner plan? I have a cookbook that divides recipes into the seasons. I am thinking I will simply move from recipe to recipe. No thought. No decisions. Just make what it tells me to make. Who knows? Maybe we will all learn new foods.

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Laughing in Red and Green

Admittedly, I have been absent from my blog. Swimming and Halloween and swimming and Thanksgiving and swimming and Christmas parties (we collected THREE shopping carts of toys to donate – thank you everyone who participated!) and swimming and oh, right … swimming have confiscated my life, Dahling (ten points if you can name the reference). But finally I have twenty minutes (in succession) to sit and wish you all the Merriest and the Happiest of Christmases or Hanukkah’s or whatever it is that you celebrate at this time of year … and if you celebrate nothing because you believe nothing, well then, it’s your loss … I’m sorry for that.

My family is finally all under one roof. Thanks to Lucy’s, “Yay! I got a job!” and “Ugh, I have a job!” she has literally only been home from school for under an hour. She had finals up until the very last day and then had to stay to work through the weekend. Christmas Eve mass is in two days and she will (hopefully) get to spend New Year’s Eve and day with us. I say hopefully because we don’t have her work schedule yet.

Welcome to the work world, Lucy.

She wasn’t home fifteen minutes before she and Mary and Ben were watching videos on the computer. Discussions of old of Sponge Bob, Drake and Josh and The Suite Life have been replaced with hilarious giggles at Pewdiedie, Cutie Pie, danisnotonfire, Amazing Phil, Pentatonix, the Vlog Brothers and other names that baffle me even as they make me smile. Mary knows them all, Ben knows them all.

Who am I kidding? They all know them all.

YouTube Rewind 2014 had them in stitches as they watched people pour water on each other.

How did this happen? When did they leave me behind so thoroughly? … And effectively, I might add, as I am guaranteed to never catch up at this point (although I do admit to watching the Green brothers at times), but that’s okay because I don’t really need to.

All I need, is their presence, their laughter and their smiles.

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A Week of Meals

Wow. It’s been an age, hasn’t it? I’m sorry for that. I’ve got only one (compound) word for you to explain myself.

IMG_4742Bookfair.

I am co-chair, one of three, of the book fair at our elementary school. Weeks of planning decorations, meetings, phone calls, emails and coordinating the committees we formed all came together in one week-long glorious event where we got to see the kids every morning, see the teachers and parents every afternoon, and help them find books.

“Where is the Pokemon book?” “Have you ever heard of Pete the Cat?” “Do you have …?”

We had three shifts of workers come in every day to help us run the cash registers, check the kids’ money to make sure they had enough, occasionally empty the kids’ pockets of pilfered erasers and pens, and help on the floor. This was great as we had amazing volunteers, but at least one of us chairpeople supervised at each shift just in case questions came up about … anything. As I am the early morning person among us, I volunteered for the early shift, 7-8:30. I would also work the first three hour shift of the afternoon (12-3) because my schedule allowed for that, but the rest of my schedule, the one that starts at 3pm and goes until 9pm remained the same.

Despite the grueling week, it was important to me to cook every day, make sure there was dinner each night, plus celebrate two birthdays. I still can’t believe I pulled it off. There were times … not gonna lie … that I wanted to cry from fatigue and a messy house, but we got through them.

How? Read on.

Abby going for the gold in the 200IM.

Abby going for the gold in the 200IM.

Last weekend, we divided and conquered. Abby and Mollie had a swim meet and Homecoming and husband took Emma, Lizzie, Bennett and Mary camping with the Cub Scouts. I stayed home, took Abby and Mollie to the meet (across town, almost to Athens!), getting home around 2 in the afternoon. Abby had to shower, exchange her deathtrap shoes, find a just-right-necklace and get delivered to her friend’s house to get ready. I got home from that whirlwind, sat down on the couch in my (quiet, only one other person home) house to read before we needed to leave for dinner when Abby sent me a text saying we were meeting for pictures in 45 minutes.

So much for a little sit down time.

Homecoming girl and little sister.

Homecoming girl and little sister.

But, we met, the girls were beautiful, we ate a delicious sushi dinner, I delivered the girls to the school for the dance (thankfully another mom was  bringing them home) and the day was finally over. Sunday morning I woke up, made coffee and sat in bed with the laptop. I knew the week was going to be a disaster schedule-wise which would mean if I didn’t have an airtight plan, we would end up spending $500 on take out. Easily. So, I got the notebook, pulled up Pinterest and the calendar and got to work. The girls and I hit Costco after church, fulfilled the list, and we were set.

Monday was Fajita Quesadillas. I came home every morning between the first shift and the  second shift, and this was when I made or assembled dinner each day. I cut the vegetables, I shredded the rotisserie chicken and cheese and had it all ready so that when it was time to eat, I got out the cast iron griddle and made two at a time. We had rice and black beans with this. Abby and Mollie, who get home from swim late and at different times always get their foil-covered dinner out of the 250º oven.

Abby hugs a sweet little boy.

Abby hugs a sweet little boy.

Tuesday was Abby’s birthday. I wrote about that here, but we had chili and Tiramisu (both of which I’d made in the morning). That night was also a special day at the book fair and everyone stayed home from swim because they all helped me. Abby dressed up as Clifford the Big Red Dog, Emma painted faces, Mary dressed up as Merida and Lizzie dressed up as Maid Marion (the theme was medieval). We got home after 6pm, had dinner that was already made and celebrated.

Wednesday things were starting to get to me. The house was a mess. The laundry was piling up. Swim carpool was going to need to be paid attention to because it wasn’t just about my kids, there were others involved. I had choir practice that night until 9pm. It was one of those days that you sit on your couch at 5am and wish you could just transport yourself 24 hours forward so that it would all be over … and the week was only half over. Nina to the rescue! My mom offered to take the kids to swim, stay there with them and bring them home. I only had to get Mollie to our pick up spot at 5:20. The rest of the time I was able to stay at home and play catch up. I’d made Crock Pot Short Ribs (I used stew meat this time) in the morning, so they were simmering away. All I needed to do was make creamed cauliflower, mashed potatoes and roasted root vegetables in the afternoon. It was a one-bowl comfort dinner on a day we all needed some comfort.

Thursday. Home stretch. Same schedule except that we had all our conferences, so time was shortened. Mollie’s was at 9:30 in the morning, so I had minimal time at home in the morning. I had originally scheduled Burrito bowls, but because we’d already had Mexican earlier in the week, and I knew I would be driving to the pool twice that day, I decided to stick with our typical Thursday and make soup. Plus, it was Lizzie’s Honor Chorus performance at 6pm (I went to) and the high school swim team meeting (Husband went to). I needed something that I could make in the morning that would sit and wait on us to eat as people got home. Broccoli Cheese soup it was. Except that I added kale (remember about the iron for Abby?). This recipe is pretty good, but I have others I want to try in the future.

Lizzie and Mary on Friday making costumes out of boxes.

Lizzie and Mary on Friday making costumes out of boxes.

Friday! We made it! Last day of Book Fair!! Also … Emma’s 17th birthday. She wanted Asian food. I have not always been successful in the past making Asian food at home. I’m better, but let’s just say I know my limitations. There are a few recipes I can do, but there are also a few things I buy. Because I’m no good at lo mein. I’m no good at Egg Rolls, Spring Rolls or soup. So that, we buy. But Sesame Chicken and Mongolian Beef? No problem. (Those links, by the way go to an AWESOME recipe website, it is a KEEPER. Baked in the South.) I prepped everything in the morning. Cut up and marinated the chicken and beef (left them in bags in the fridge). Made the sauces and left them to reheat. Made Emma’s Chocolate Chocolate cake (best chocolate cake recipe ever, I just add espresso powder), and left them on the counter to cool. I had exactly 45 minutes in the afternoon to finish icing the cake before we left for swim practice. Getting home at 7:20 was stressful, but because of all the prep done, all I had to do was fry up the beef and the chicken, steam the broccoli, heat up the sauces, and serve. (It was a tad more stressful than that, but it was as calm as it could be considering. Give me a glass of Friday night wine and I can make anything happen.)

I’ve made it to Saturday. We have swim this morning, kids are scattered this evening and I have my first voice lesson in 10 years. I’m scared to death. But dinner is planned. It was going to be Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili but we may just eat leftovers. Or maybe I’ll make it and we’ll eat it tomorrow.

That way Sunday’s done too.

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Happy Chili

IMG_4165Today is Abby’s birthday.

Today is Candice’s birthday as well (wave, Candice). Last I heard she is getting to go to Medieval Times for her dinner … jousting … horses … food … oh my.

So, if I lived near her, I would definitely make her an Almond Joy pie, or an Almond Joy cookie, or bar or something, but she will have to make do with my love from afar.

Abby, on the other hand gets to decide what we are having tonight for her special 15th birthday. The kids always surprise me with what they choose, and Abby was no exception this time.

Our swim coach sends us out emails periodically about practice, meets, information about volunteering, that sort of thing. Recently, he sent out an email that he got from the USA Swimming website regarding the student athlete’s diet. They are kids; they swim, sleep, eat and go to school. Sometimes it seems like its in that exact order. Keeping up with the nutritional needs of a teenager swimmer is difficult. Girls, especially, it seems. The article listed the top three nutrients that the typical teenaged athlete isn’t getting enough of.

Iron. Vitamin D. Calcium.

When this article was presented to us, I read it. Twice.

Iron?

“Female athletes, in particular, are at greater risk for this deficiency due to menses and exercise.” Jill Castle, MS RDN

This got me thinking …

Abby is always very tired. Part of this is her schedule. 3 hours of swimming/dryland a day. School for 7 hours a day (which, coincidentally, I read an interesting article on here …). Being fifteen. But I wondered if she could benefit from increased iron in her diet.

We’ve dropped away some from red meat within the last year. To combat Abby’s fatigue in any way possible, I’ve decided to look for sources of iron for her. This includes using a cast iron skillet to cook with, but beyond that, I’ve made a conscious effort to add back in one more day of red meat. Since all the kids swim, and most of them are girls, I figured one more day wouldn’t really hurt, and it might actually help. I also have begun reading labels (as I always read labels) specifically looking for sources of iron.

Spinach. Dark meat poultry. Beans. And, of course … red meat, in proper portions.

We’ve had conversations about this and now Abby asks, what has the most iron in it, this … or that? (Actually, I’m quite proud.) She puts spinach on every sandwich, in every salad, eats the black beans and rice I put on her plate, and when I asked her what she wanted for her birthday dinner? Good, old-fashioned chili.

So, in honor of her birthday, here is my chili recipe.

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. lean stew meat, cut into small chunks
Olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 green or red pepper, diced
2 long carrots, peeled and diced small
3 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans beans (any kind you like, I use pintos and black beans)
1 bottle of hearty beer (stout, ale etc.)
2-3 T. chili powder
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. celery salt
1 Bay leaf
salt to taste
1-2 T. sugar

Brown meat, breaking into pieces, remove from dutch oven. Drain grease/fat (if there is any), add back in 1 T. olive oil and cook vegetables until soft. Add back in the meat, stir, and add in beer to deglaze. Add tomatoes and beans (I don’t drain my beans, but you can if you want), spices, salt and sugar. Cook on low for about an hour. Turn off heat and let sit until you are ready to eat! (I usually make it around lunch time and heat it back up before dinner, but that’s me …)

Here in the south, we serve chili over rice with cheese, jalepenos, scallions, onions, cilantro and tortilla chips … but however you like it.

Posted in Beef, Beer, Food, Swimming | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Quick and Different

I like mashed avocado with my Indian. Why? I have no idea and I know it isn't legit. But the point is, eat what you like.

I like mashed avocado with my Indian. Why? I have no idea and I know it isn’t legit. But the point is, eat what you like.

Quick and easy. That’s what dinner is about these days for me.

For example, I usually go shopping on Monday morning, this past Monday however I was stuck at home for the four-hour window waiting on the Whirlpool repair man to come look at my less than one-year old refrigerator. For the fifth time. Just sayin’.

The good news was, that my mom came over and I was able to help her with her taxes. I also got the laundry done, the floor mopped, the beds made, emails sent, checkbook balanced.

But no grocery shopping.

Because when the nice guy showed up to look at the fridge (a guy who has now almost become a friend because he’s been here so much), it was after noon when he left. I had to go find shoes for Abby for homecoming, and mom offered lunch out. So no shopping. I managed to fit in a quick shop at Target on Tuesday morning between dentist visits, but of course I am limited to what I can get at Target. Thank goodness they have some fresh stuff now. Then there was the usual round of driving in the afternoon that Mom helped with so that I could make dinner.

Days like that have me falling back on the “givens” for dinner. The kind of food everyone will eat without too much complaining. The kind where there is the least amount of negotiating “how many bites” Mary or Ben or Lizzie must take in order to earn 1/2 cup of ice cream. One such dinner for us, believe it or not, is Indian. Candice and I were discussing the merits and different sauces found in Indian cooking and I told her that the Garam masala used in most dishes is a personal thing. I’ve seen and read about how the special box of spices sometimes gets passed down in families. Each spice mixture that makes up a Garam masala is different from family to family.

“Well, who did you get your spice mixture from? Last I checked you weren’t getting a box passed down in your family,” says Candice.

“True,” I giggled. “My mixture comes from the Farm of Archer, or the family Patak.” (Both brands of sauces ready made and on the shelf at the grocery store.) Archer Farm is at Target, of course and Patak, plus others, Seeds of Change, etc. can be found in the international section of your grocery store. Yes, I know they aren’t completely legit, but honestly? They taste amazing and if I can get my little kids to develop a taste for the unique blend of spices, I’m ahead in my book.

And for a quick, healthy dinner, you can’t beat it.

Part of our dinner in London. It was simply gorgeous and amazing to taste. The small dishes were Lucy's and the bigger one was Chicken Tikka Masala, what I ordered. Look at the Naan!

Part of our dinner in London. It was simply gorgeous and amazing to taste. The small dishes were Lucy’s and the bigger one was Chicken Tikka Masala, what I ordered. Look at the Naan!

This meal can be totally vegetarian, or you can add meat. I usually stir fry whatever veggies I have in the fridge, onions, carrots, celery, cauliflower (crucial!), peppers, sometimes potatoes, squash (of all kinds), etc. Cook in a little olive oil until just softened (about 10 min) and then remove to a bowl. In the same pan, with another teaspoon of oil, cook chunks of tofu (which I do for Lucy) or chicken (the frozen, portion controlled chicken breasts work great here, quick thaw 3-4, cut them up and voila, white meat chicken) until a little browned over medium heat. Add the veggies back in and add your sauce of choice. Our three favorites are Butter Chicken, Tikka Masala, and Korma Curry, but you can find the spicier ones too like Vindaloo if you want.

The story of our restaurant.

The story of our restaurant.

Experiment. See what you like.

I almost always have to stretch the sauce a little (lots of mouths to feed), so I do that with a little white wine or water (shake it up in the empty jar) and heavy cream. Put a lid on the whole pan and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Serve over basmati or jasmine rice with a little heated Naan bread and you have a bowl of comfort.

I actually have a blend of Garam Masala. It’s in my spice cabinet. One day I will make the sauce myself, but have thus far been too chicken to do it. Plus, I’m always in a hurry.

The point is, whether you make it from scratch or get help from the grocery store, allow yourself to develop a taste for the spices, then treat yourself a restaurant dinner and have “the real thing.” I promise it will be an amazing experience. Lucy and I had the opportunity to eat dinner at the most beautiful Indian restaurant in London.

It was an experience neither of us have ever forgotten.

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Confessions of a Marketing Victim

IMG_4738I love fall.

Most people love fall. I remember this funny scene from You’ve Got Mail where Tom Hanks writes to Meg Ryan about the joys of fall in New York.

The leaves. The air. The brisk-ness. A bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils.

The anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

All of it is amazing and lovely to watch unfold, and today we are being rewarded for enduring the endless rain of yesterday morning that I had to be out in, shopping and taking kids to the dentist in shifts, always seeming to choose the exact time that the rain would be the heaviest to have to dash to the car.

Nice.

So, today is the PSAT. Abby and Emma are taking it. Abby for practice and Emma for real. Depending on how she does, her score could mean big money for college, so it is an important day for her and for our family. Especially if someone wins the governor’s race here in Georgia and decides to change the conditions for the HOPE scholarship, phasing it out for families whose income exceeds a certain threshold … but that is a different story.

The kids at the other schools are also in the middle of their standardized testing, Iowa Test of Basic Skills and the CogAT. The ITBS is especially important for Lizzie in fifth grade because her scores play a huge part in determining which classes she gets in middle school, which determines what track she will be on in high school.

But again, another story.

We get phone calls and emails and texts these days as our communication from the school. I love it because I can sign up for the teacher texts, and the schools do callouts and email blasts almost every day. You literally have to purposely ignore or live under a rock to not know what’s going on. Every email and phone call, letter and text encourage parents to make sure their kids go to bed on time, eat a nutritious breakfast with protein (for sustainability) and bring a healthy snack.

All of this seems like a complete no-brainer for me, right? I shop twice a week to help keep us in fresh foods (and it helps with the grocery budget and meal planning), I think about the packaged foods I buy, reading the ingredients, I make their snacks sometimes – especially before swim – making sure to include wholesome ingredients that provide what their bodies and minds need.

Then why in the world then would I EVER have my head turned by a box with a cute little cowboy girl on it, and a picture of white cakes with orange, brown and yellow sprinkles on it? Priced at 3/$5, it’s definitely a steal, even though my head tells me their profit margin is still huge. Surely, left on its own, this box would survive the new millennia, preservatives, white sugar, white flour, and lard pumped in this adorable little twosome of cakes in such vast quantities that there is nothing real in it.

IMG_4736

The first box … already empty!

I don’t know.

That’s my answer.

But buy them, I do, because they’re cute. And they remind me of fall. And the kids love it when I give them a treat like this.

Abby was making her lunch this morning (as she does every morning). Raspberries. Carrots. Cheese. Pita chips. Dark chocolate covered almonds for a treat … and a package of white cakes with filling and sprinkles, sealed tightly in plastic.

“Mom, can I take this for lunch?”

Me, knowing exactly what she’s talking about but not wanting to answer. “Um, what? Huh?” Shaking in my boots that I am considering letting them be consumed outside the safety of our house … with the blinds closed … in the middle of the dark … the plastic buried at the bottom of the trash bag so no one will ever know.

“These Little Debbie cakes, can I take one?”

In defeat, “Yes, but you tell your friends that you bought them. Do NOT let them know your mom bought them. Tell them you had to sneak them and that you have scored a HUGE coup over your mother and her draconian food ways. And then smile with satisfaction so as not to leave anyone in doubt that you got away with food murder.”

Emma walks in, smirking as usual and saying in a loud voice, “Her name is Kit Robertson, and her blog address is ….”

“Nooo! I will deny, deny!”

And I will most likely buy the Christmas ones too … they are so pretty!

*shakes head in shame*

(author’s note, Mollie just came downstairs and said, “What are these boxed brownies things?” Me, “Err … uh …” Mollie, “You never buy these things! Can I take one?”

Sigh.)

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