Happy, Happy

Kick Ball

I wish I could say that I do everything right when it comes to motherhood. I wish I could find that elusive handbook and read it cover to cover. Until then, I need to trust my gut, and my gut is telling me that video games and TV is the devil. The boys don’t watch much TV or play any video games during the week. On the weekends, they got up early and played that stupid Minecraft and watched those annoying Stampy Longhead videos.

This week was the first week of summer vacation and I, thinking I would do something indulgent before they started swim team next week, let them play video games and watch TV all week. I’ve noticed over the years that too much results in bad behavior, but this week was something else. Mikey got in fights with his best friend over an iphone game. The argued over handball. In the pool the squabbled about something else, and then Mikey and Nico got in a fight over a pool toy. Nico started crying. He interrupted me in the middle of conversations with adults. Their room, normally messy, was a veritable fire hazard.

By Wednesday afternoon, the 3rd day of summer vacation, I had enough. On Thursday I woke up and found them playing video games even though I told them the day before they were not to play without my permission. Needless to say, many words flew out of my mouth. Mikey and Nico found themselves deeply regretting their decision to put off making their beds.

I put a moratorium on video games until I say so. I limited TV to Doctor Who with dad when he gets home. I told them to enjoy the summer the way I used to enjoy it as a kid: no video games, no cable, no long drives to amusement parks and special events where a hamburger costs $11. In short, God gave you an imagination. Use it.

We played Monopoly for almost 3 hours. Nico, with three railroads and Boardwalk, was the dominator of board games. They made their lunch. Mikey had a cheese sandwich and Nico a veggie burger. We sat outside. The boys played a game of kick ball with the neighborhood kids while I read a book. Later, they had a Nerf gun war in the backyard. They played a game of chess until the Mister came home. We ate dinner and watched Doctor Who. When it was time to go to bed, Nico fell asleep quickly and Mikey finished the third book in the Wereworld series.

It’s possible they were on their best behavior because I lost my temper that morning, but I still think video games and TV are devils. I know that yesterday, after a week of annoyances and outbursts, there wasn’t a single fight between brothers. There were no tears of misunderstanding. There was no sass or defiance. It was nice. Really, really nice.

Have a happy, happy weekend, everyone!

Happy, Happy

B&B Collage.jpg

If you follow me on Instagram (I’m @themrskendall), then you have seen one or two dozen pictures of Buttercup. Some might think I’m obsessed with that dang bird. Probably! But she’s so sweet, so gentle, and so, so sensitive. We’ve learned a lot about her personality the last couple of weeks, and her stay with us hasn’t been without adjustments. I could write an entire post about her and why we only have one cockatiel, but I’m already perilously close to crazy bird-lady status on Instagram. No need to bring the crazy over here!

I can never love her enough for pulling Buddy out of his funk. He wags his tail, he sleeps better, and he eats food. He wasn’t do any of this well just three weeks ago. He could do without Buttercup flapping her wings–it’s a little scary to him–but she could do without his sudden coughs. Her eyes go big as saucers and her crest looks like the Empire State Building. It shouldn’t be funny, but it kind of is.

Here’s a really bad video for your squee enjoyment. I was in the kitchen making dinner when Mikey called out that Buddy and Buttercup went outside together. Say what?! I grabbed my phone and ran, hoping I would catch what I thought would last no more than a couple of seconds. I was wrong! Mikey, Nico, and I watched Buddy walk Buttercup around the yard and sniff a few bushes. Then, after a couple of minutes, Buddy decided to go back inside with Buttercup still hanging on, looking for all the world like Cleopatra on a litter. You’ll have to look past the horrible quality. I was going for proof, not production.

Have a happy, happy weekend everyone!

Happy, Happy

poolside

Mikey turned 10 yesterday. He kept saying the word decade, and it bugged me. Too fast! Too fast!

We celebrated his entrance into his “next decade” (his words) with swim tryouts. Hah! Not the most exciting of days, but this weekend he’s having a slumber party. We’re going out to dinner where there is a clarinet player. Then, the boys, I’m sure, are going to spend the rest of the night playing video games and watching Doctor Who. In the morning they want to play tennis and go swimming.

Sounds good to me, especially since the pool we go to has a bar. Since my favorite drink is nonalcoholic, I can have as many as I want without worrying about someone drowning. Soda water, cranberry juice, and two lime wedges = SO GOOD. Not too dry, and not too sweet if you are specific and ask for a heavy splash of cranberry juice. Splash! Otherwise the bartender thinks it’s a drink for a kid, and you’ll end up with a really sweet, disgusting drink.

Have you read the comments on yesterday’s post? So thoughtful, so accepting of different viewpoints, so willing to offer ideas and suggestions. I knew you all would make what could be a contentious subject interesting and inspiring. Thanks for that. :)

Fruits and Vegetables

Farm Fresh To You

It’s been a month since I started the Farm Fresh to You subscription and I love it. I love the delivery system. I get a box on my doorstep every Tuesday–no driving for me! Also, the weekly box has done exactly what I hoped it would. I’m forced to use vegetables and fruits in a timely manner and cook outside my comfort zone. I don’t understand why this works, because buying fruits and vegetables from a CSA is the same as buying fruits and vegetables from the supermarket. I will never understand why I’m determined to save food one way but not the other.

A few things about joining a CSA or a produce co-op, since I’ve done both over the years. The produce I get in my box is pretty basic. So far, I haven’t seen anything exotic. I did get limes, and those are hard to find at a reasonable price this year thanks to pests and our unseasonably warm winter. For the most part, though, it’s been eggplant, avocados, potatoes, mixed greens, and radishes. Lots and lots of radishes. If you are looking for romonesco, you won’t find it in your weekly Farm Fresh to You box.

You will find it cheaper to shop farmer’s markets. What I spend in additional cost I make up for in gained time. Plus, I’m someone who benefits from a lack of choices. Give me a box, force me to use what’s inside. I do well with limitations.

Organization is key. If you aren’t a meal planner, a CSA box may not be for you. My neighbor, a confirmed health nut, cancelled her Farm Fresh to You subscription last year because she couldn’t keep up with the produce. She doesn’t meal plan and doesn’t see herself picking up the habit anytime soon. For her, Farm Fresh to You was huge waste of money.

Caveat emptor, folks.

Open Face Radish Sandwich

Did I mention the lots and lots of radishes? I’ve tried radishes in the past and found them to taste like a pile of dirt. Mikey loves them, so I’m giving them to him as his after school snack. The above recipe–if you can call it that–is the one way I can get the entire family to eat radishes. They don’t taste like dirt when butter is involved.

I get another delivery tomorrow and, yes, there will be more radishes. I might try pickling them this time.

Happy, Happy

books

Today is my last day in the library for the school year. I’ll still be at school organizing the library for next year, helping the teachers with end-of-year projects, and reading to a couple of classes. This year has been an inspiring, life-changing year. I am hugely satisfied by any opportunity to learn and self reflect, and volunteering in the library allowed me to do that in spades. Here are some of the things I’ve learned this year.

  • I learned that teachers work really hard.
  • I learned that it is wonderful and rewarding to work with kids.
  • I learned that it is easy to care about children who aren’t yours and to want what is best for them.
  • I learned that finding books appropriate for a school library that satisfy the students, the parents, the administration, and the Diocese is difficult!
  • I learned that most kids just want you to listen to them. A simple “Mmmmm” or “Oh?” is like a balm on chapped skin.
  • I learned that older kids love read alouds.
  • I learned that watching a child fall in love with reading is an adrenalin rush.
  • I learned that I really love organizing books and putting up silly seasonal decor.
  • I learned that I’m a bit insane about which pens I use for various tasks.
  • I learned that Newbery Medal books from 10-20 years ago are often better than the Newbery Medal books from today.
  • I learned that book cover design is very, very important to kids.
  • I learned that boys like violence and girls like romance far earlier than they did at my age.
  • I learned that there are some children you will not inspire, will not reach.
  • I learned that I really like grande-soy mocha frappuccinos with a shot of toffeenut–no whip–way too much.
  • I learned that this is what I was meant to do.

Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.