How Sweet it is to Be Loved by You …

Thanks to my super sweet blogger friend, Jenni over at News of the Times, for nominating me for a few awards. Sorry it took me so long to respond. This post is dedicated to the acceptance of the Super Sweet Blog Award.

Recipient Requirements:

  • Thank the Person who nominated you
  • Answer the 5 Super Sweet Questions
  • Nominate a baker’s dozen of other Super Sweet Bloggers and let them know

Super Sweet Questions (and my answers):

1. Cookies or Cake?

Cookies because they are portable. I guess I could say (cup)cakes for the same reason, but there is something about a crisp but chewy cookie still a little warm that makes me smile. Truth be told? My girlfriend calls me an honorary “Cookie Monster”.

2. Chocolate or Vanilla?

Both. They’re best (sweeter shall I say) when they are together.

3. What is your favorite sweet treat?

That really depends on the day and time. Right now I am enjoying a couple of Keebler Sandies Cookies – Toffee Shortbread with my coffee as a breakfast dessert. Later I will have a few squares of Hershey’s Symphony – Almond Toffee Milk Chocolate bar. MMMM!

4. When do you crave sweet things most?

I find myself wanting something sweet right after lunch or while watching late night TV.

5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?

I guess I would have to choose … Brown Sugar. Oh or maybe Cocoa.

A Baker’s Dozen (not quite … I am watching my sweet intake. Not really but my list isn’t quite that long):

If you are reading this and have a super sweet recipe you’d be willing to share, feel free to do so in the comments. Just know I’m not a great baker but I love great baked goods.

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The Promise of Summer

Fudgsicles. Red, white and blue Bomb Pops. Orange Creamsicles. Nestle Drumsticks. Late afternoon shouts, “Ice cream truck. It’s the ice cream truck.” Children running and waving money.

Riding bikes, roller skating or playing ball in the street with friends; these were the best ways to pass the time. We would play all day but reported home when the streetlights came on. Sometimes we’d play a game of hide-n-seek under the cover of night with the neighborhood kids while parents sat on porches and listened to the sounds of stealthy children.

We would make trips to the local pool or play in the sprinklers for the sake of cooling off from the heat. Taking frequent trips to the library to find new adventures to fuel our fun.

The smell of fresh cut grass. Clear blue skies. Golden sunshine streaming through the gaps of the clothes on the clothesline. Laughter in the distance as kids enjoy their freedom.

Veggies from the garden:  summer squash, tomatoes, and zucchini. Eating peaches, plums, and nectarines right off the tree. My Dad often paid me to be a human scarecrow and ward off birds from his precious fruit trees. Chicken and burgers on the grill. Family and friends laughing as we prepare the evening meal together. True community.

Sleeping in till lunch time and watching soap operas all afternoon:  Search for Tomorrow, Days of Our Lives, and Another World. No set bedtime.

Even though I was a little bit of a nerd and enjoyed school, these are the things that summer always promised to deliver for me. Can you see it? Close your eyes and imagine …

Summertime!

Now as a mom of two small boys summer represents some new things …

Ice cream is still involved, just not from an ice cream truck. They are few and far between. When I was young you could set your watch by the arrival of the ice cream truck. Now we’ll stop by one of our favorite ice cream shops.

As the school year comes to a close for my boys, I see that they are in need of a break from the regular routine. They are crabby and annoyed. Counting down the days hasn’t helped. They need a vacation. I am excited for them to have one. I want them to have memories like mine.

The mom in me is excited that I won’t have to remember to pack lunches. There won’t be a need for clean school uniforms and arguments about being in dress code. We can say goodbye to Manic Mornings where tired children meltdown over things like eating breakfast, getting dressed, and brushing their teeth.

Summer can’t get here soon enough. I will fill it as best as I can with:  Fudgsicles, Red, white and blue Bomb Pops, Orange Creamsicles, and Nestle Drumsticks, for my boys.

We will laugh and play in the sunshine. I will put on running shoes or find a bike path. I will stand in the heat and blow bubbles for a game of “Bubble Wars”. I will step outside of my comfort zone and do outdoor things with them. We’ll celebrate the promise of Summer.

Get ready because here it comes …

Cereal? It’s What’s for Dinner!

What’s for dinner? This is the topic of conversation every night when I pick up the boys. It goes something like this:

Child:  What’s for dinner?
Parent:  Food.
Child:  What kind of food?
Parent:  The kind you eat.
Child:  You always say that.
Parent:  It’s always true.

Most nights, for me, it’s cereal. Not in the replace-2-meals-a-day sort of way. I’m not on a special or trendy diet. But rather in a my-boys-are-so-picky sort of way.

Here’s what I mean:

I have one who doesn’t like to eat meat. You name it:  chicken, beef, or pork. The other one doesn’t like anything with a carbohydrate in it. You know:  potatoes, pasta, or bread.

Neither one will eat a veggie. If it’s green (especially leafy) they aren’t touching it. No matter how you dress it up. I know the trick of putting cheese on it but wait … you’ll soon understand.

Sometimes they will eat fruit but only certain fruit and only if it’s fresh not canned. So pineapples, grapes, and apples always make the cut. Please don’t put a peach in front of them. Why? Because of the peach fuzz. Apparently:  “It freaks me out a little, Mom.”

Keep in mind it’s not just types of foods, it’s textures too. For example, they both say yes to apples but one says no to applesauce and the other enjoys it from time to time.

I have one who avoids dairy. While the other loves yogurt and creamy ice cream. I mean we can’t even order pizza because melted cheese “freaks out” the dairy hater. And that means no cheese on veggies.

You may be surprised to know that they will eat a number of beans and legumes. Not typical for kids or at least in my experience.

Now we haven’t even talked about allergies. One who can eat anything as far as we know. And one who can’t have any type of nut and had a reaction to crab legs so we’re avoiding sea food with him in general.

Do you see what I’m faced with? The easy meals that satisfied me as a child won’t fly with my kids. No Kraft Mac and Cheese (even if it’s the cheesiest). No PB&J sandwiches. You can have the J but then we have to deal with the bread issue. No fish sticks. Oh and they aren’t big on hot dogs.

Tell me, how do you create a home cooked dinner that meets the needs of these picky palates? You don’t. So I don’t. I’ve stopped trying. Instead I make them vote and negotiate amongst themselves about dinner options. This technique has its own challenges.

One says:  “I want to get something at home. I want to go straight home.” [You have to say it with a whine in your voice to get the full effect.]

The other says:  “Not me. I want to eat at a restaurant and get an order.” [You have to say it defiantly.]

But once they agree, I deliver and then come home to eat whatever flavor of cereal we have; usually Frosted Flakes but lately Coco Puffs or Lucky Charms.

Cereal? It’s what’s for dinner.

As I run into people I haven’t seen in a while they all make similar comments:  “You’ve lost a lot of weight.” And I consider it a compliment. I don’t mind hearing it. Some people even have attitude about it. Like this is a personal affront to them.

Regardless, I am not trying to lose weight. Sorry … I’m not. Dropping pounds and inches isn’t on my radar in a proactive way. That’s not why I’m eating cereal for dinner.

Even though some may say (including my husband) that I’ve given parenting control to the kids, I like to think of it as choosing my battles. They eat but they have to decide and practice negotiation. They eat things that they like so we don’t argue (as much).

And I have the added benefit of weight loss and maintenance as a result. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this method.

Maybe I am on a special diet! But if you have advice on meal options for my picky family, please let me know!