Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Alex the school superstar!

Since I never did get around to updating, I should say that after a few worried nights and lots of little prayers- Alex got in to the same school that Skyler goes to. Which is the school that Grandma Val works it. Which is really cool.

Alex began school just over 2 weeks ago, because Kindergarten kids work on a gradual entry system. Kindergarten is 1/2 day here, with the exception of every other Wednesday. On Wednesday, one group of kids goes all day and the other stays home. Then it rotates. Bad for scheduling childcare, great for the kid excited to eat lunch at school.

Alex woke up early today, bright eyed (Well, he's Alex so I guess he is ALWAYS "bright eyed") and ready to go. He had his bookbag packed. His outfit laid out. His lunchpail on the counter.

The lunchpail was a big deal to Mr. Al B. On his very first day of school, he walked out of the school- stormed out, to be exact- and said "Mommy, I only bwing my lunch pail on Wednesdays. Not evewy day. And all I got fow snack was TWO cookies and one dwink of watew. TWO COOKIES, MOMMY. I am STAWVING."
*Note: I am not really thinking the child was at risk for starvation. He was in class for 2 1/2 hours. And ate right before he went. And as soon as he got home. Against all odds, he survived.

The best part about this lunch obsession was that when I put his backpack on him to go to the bus stop, he was really not loving the fact that it made the backpack weight about as much as he does. Kids. Can't starve 'em, can't make 'em in to pack mules. Sheesh.

Aside from the snack obsession, school has been going great for Alex (and Sky too!). So I knew today was going to be a good day, and it was. He came out of school happy and exhausted- just the way I like him. On the way to school Skyler sat at the front of the bus with his little brother, and as they drove away in a giant Twinkie-On-Wheels together for the first time...I stood on the sidewalk and resisted the urge to break into cheer.

Kids are adorable. So is quiet.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Giant Cupcakes for dinner! (Or not)

First of all, here is my word to all websites/computer systems/people who control such things: Can y'all stop updating ALL AT ONCE? In one day, I went from being fairly computer literate to barely knowing how to turn the dumb thing on! Facebook, Internet Explorer, Pandora...and now I sign on to blog and I find out that Blogger updated, too? AHH! I am not this good at change. Stop now, or at least get a calendar and schedule once big adjustment at a time, please.

And now, on to the meat of the matter.

Tonight, we had giant cupcakes for dinner. Mmm...I love me some red velvet or strawberries & champagne cupcakes. But tonight, we went a little less traditional. We went with meatloaf.

Yep. You read right.

I have been in a cooking funk lately. Except for learning how to can, which I'll post about this weekend because as it turns out, sealing stuff in mason jars is really super cool. Between school starting and work being a bit draining and fibro attempting to be a royal pain in my, well, everything (for the record, I am winning in THAT particular battle of the wills, thankyouverymuch)- lavish dinners have kind of turned in to crock pot faithfuls and sandwiches. I hate when this happens because when it comes down to it- I love to cook.

I needed inspiration. And I needed dinner made in one hour and twenty minutes in order to get to the school's open house. And I miss my mom. So I thought- what do I love that mom makes? Tacos. I'll make tacos.

Wait. All I have for tacos is ground turkey and beans. Ok, scratch the tacos. Burritos? Oh, need tortillas (obviously Mexican food isn't my forte, because I actually got excited for a minute before remembering this key ingredient). No burritos. Hmm...Well...I DO have ground turkey...MEATLOAF!

By this time I had approximately 40 minutes left. Not much time for making meatloaf. But I DO have a really great giant cupcake pan that I bought to make meatloaf cupcakes in for April Fools Day! Alright. Plan Q. I will make mini meatloafs in the giant cupcake tin.

But it is such a shame to HAVE a giant cupcake tin specifically for tricking your children, and not USE it. Lucky for me, I also had leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge.

35 minutes...

So I throw some parmesean,carrots, cabbage, gluten free bread crumbs, eggs, italian seasoning and ground turkey in the food processor, get it to the icky mixed together stage and stuff it in muffin pans. This is about the time that the boys come in to the kitchen and ask what I'm making. I tell them "We are having meatloaf cupcakes for dinner". And I get the following responses:

Alex: "YAY! CUPCAKES FOR DINNEW!" (I'm thinking Alex missed a key part of my statement.)

Skyler: "Uh...ok" (And then he gives me that look that tells me he thinks I'm crazy, but I've done my job as a parent so he is afraid to say anything to that effect.)

While the meatloaf was cooking I reheated the mashed potatoes and mixed in some all natural blue and green food coloring. In retrospect, blue and green was probably a bad choice, since NOTHING green looks yummy. And "natural" food coloring works just fine...if you are color blind. But, somehow, after the mashed potatoes were applied to the tops of the meatloafs as you'd apply frosting to a cupcake- it fooled the boys.

I set the "cupcakes" down on the dinner table. Reactions:


Skyler: "Uh..." (Skyler had heard the part about them being meatloaf, but really believed that the mashed potatoes were frosting. Which just took me higher on the "crazy mom" scale, I'm sure.)

Dusty was much more quiet than usual, and Skyler was understandably hesitant, so Alex took a hint and waited for someone ELSE to try the cupcakes first. He was disappointed when Skyler bit in to it and said "This Is this potato?". His little sugar filled hopes came crashing down. But he tried it anyhow and decided that it wasn't so bad. And ate all of his kale. And mine, too. So I suppose that means that dinner was a success*?

After a really awesome open house- Skyler showed me his classroom with an enthusiasm that I've never seen from him before, and Alex got to show Daddy the library- they BOTH asked for another "meatloaf cupcake"!

Which means, ladies and gentlemen, that I have my (cooking) groove back!

*Just a note on the cupcakes: If you do this, don't use paper cupcake linings. Trust me.
Also, the coloring looks funny because I really AM a mean mom. Not ONLY do I lie to my kids about eating cake when they are REALLY eating meatloaf- I fill said meatloaf with veggies until it is really "meat-and-whatever-mom-has-in-her-veggie-compartment loaf".

Monday, September 5, 2011


I may have died and gone to heaven.

Before I had two boys, I had visions of tutus. Cheerleading. Pink. Bows.

(Seriously- isn't that adorable?!?!? You can find it at Made By Meade on Etsy!)

I remember a sense of shock when I found out that Skyler wasn't going to be of the pink variety. What on earth would I DO with a boy?

And then came Alex. Again?!?!? Where am I going to fit the bows in?

Over the years I have adapted. Adaptation, in this case, has taken the form of learning to distinguish 10,000 shades of blue from 20,000 shades of green and holding out hope that someday I can get a pedicure with with my neice. I suppose I should also admit that Georgia, the only other female in this household, wears pink collars. REALLY pink collars. (Dusty shot down the tutu.)

But today, a miracle happened. Perhaps I am being rewarded for being a trooper about this whole girly-girl-gets-2-boys bit.

Skyler likes to shop. He loves football and baseball and golf and wrestling, but he also enjoys an afternoon at the mall with Mom.

Today Skyler and I went school shopping. Since school starts in the morning, I realize this was a bit of a last minute deal. But since I've been in this rodeo before and know how fast kids grow, I put it off until the last minute.

This afternoon Skyler and I started off with lunch at the Spaghetti Factory (did you know that they are awesomely gluten-free friendly?). The Spaghetti Factory is "our special place". I know that it is a chain restaurant, and that it isn't THAT good of food, but I really hope that when Skyler is older and drives past the OSF, he'll think of me and our Mommy/Son dates.

Then we hit the mall- looking, by the way- like mother and son (thanks to hair dye and Converse).

Skyler didn't just want clothes. He wanted the EXPERIENCE. We tried jeans on (and decided on bootcut- YAY!). We looked in mirrors while holding up multiple shirts and deciding which was worth a trip to the dressing room. We got sodas. We got samples at See's (and potentially a Scotchmallow or 3). We people watched. It. Was. Great.

This is what Skyler ended up with after who knows HOW many stores:

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the crown jewel of Sky's Back To School Shopping Adventure:

Yep. My son is in there. I promise.

Tomorrow my "big little" starts the 3rd grade. When I tucked him in tonight, he said "Well, it's back to the real world tomorrow". I am so lucky and so thankful for the beautiful little boys they are. And truthfully- if they hated shopping with a passion and worshipped NASCAR, I'd still think they were adorable. Which makes the fact that Alex secretly loves pink and Skyler loves the mall kind of like the cherry on top, right?

Alex begins kindergarten next week. We don't know where yet. Which means that this post is to be continued...