Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cookie science

Everyone hates the comments on blog post recipes, right?  It can't just be me.

"Terrible recipe.  One star.  I substituted stevia for the sugar and mashed banana for the oil, and used almond shavings instead of chocolate chips and they look nothing like your picture."  

You think?!?

That being said, I am getting braver about making my own substitions in baking recipes.  I figure even if cookies end up too puffy or crumbly, or cupcakes collapse a little, things would have to be pretty bad before my kids would refuse to eat them.  

Yesterday M wanted to make cookies by himself, and I thought of that old 3 ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe.  He could make it with sunflower seed butter easily enough.  The only problem was, we didn't have any sugar.  Two minutes in, it was pretty obvious that honey (our go-to sweetener) wasn't going to work as a substitute this time.  Luckily a little gf flour turned things around, and he turned out two batches within a half-hour: one plain, one with chocolate chips. 

In this picture, he was trying to convince me that as a scientist, he needed to have two more, so that he could compare them.  Scientifically.  

I let him.  After all, he made them.  And it was for science!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Red (and yellow) letter day

Think of a summer barbecue.  Maybe you've been swimming all day, or playing frisbee.  You're five years old and you're hot and hungry.

You can smell the hotdogs roasting and pour yourself a big glass of lemonade before you sit down at the picnic.  Ahhh!  This is the life.

Then your mom hands you your plate.  Mmmm..! Fresh fruit, oven baked fries and... cue record scratch... A barbecued hot dog, plain, wrapped in a slice of store-bought bread.

Sorry. You can't have ketchup and mustard, and all the buns have preservatives or artifical ingredients.  

I feel like I'm always doing that to my kids.  I'll make you a cupcake, but without sprinkles.  You can have plain popcorn, but not the microwave kind.  We can eat pizza, but only from one restaurant and only certain toppings.

I know they don't care, but I can't help thinking that if it was me, I would.  

I'm always checking the import market for specialty items the boys can have, but  last weekend I stumbled onto an additive-free ketchup at the regular supermarket!  

Emboldened by my find, I checked out French's yellow mustard just in case and was shocked to find that it has always been ok!  Oops... Sorry boys!

Anyway, we had a barbecue to celebrate, and the boys were in hog heaven.  Lennon even put ketchup on his pomello!

Despite never putting up a fuss when they have to forego condiments, I know they've been watching.  When I topped M's hotdog with straight lines instead of the commerical-classic ketchup and mustard squiggle, he wasn't having it!  

In the end it was still wrapped in a boring slice of store bread, but it was still a victory.  One thing at a time, I guess!

The summer of nothing

I love this summer.

The summer of nothing.  No big trip to the states.  No summer school.  Almost no daily commitments.

I'm so glad I ignored the part of me that said the boys should be in soccer camp or summer enrichment. 

Summer should be slow, lazy mornings and lunch in pajamas.  Barbecue dinners and afternoons at the pool and movies in bed.  The park after breakfast.  Comic books for hours and computer games and making cookies.

And naps.

A summer of nothing is a luxury I will not fail to appreciate.  Maybe by August we'll be stir-crazy, but as M has reminded me daily, "It's summer break!  We can do anything we want!"

In summer, nothing is everything!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Happy fourth birthday, L!

L, what a year you have ahead.  

You are such a brave, smart, sweet boy.

I love you!  Happy birthday!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Interview your kids 2

Back by popular demand (ie I have been waiting all year to ask these again).

Same questions as last year, but asked separately so they didn't influence each other.

Summer of 2014 - Interview with M and L

What do you want to be when you grow up?
L:  A superhero.  You know.  Iron-tiger (His alter ego de jour).
M: An astronaut.

What brings you the most happiness?
L: God
M: Watching movies (That is so Whim.)

When do you feel the most loved?
L: When I ask God to forgive me
M: When people do something nice

What are you afraid of?
L: Giant things, things that I don't know.
M: Getting bit by sharks and falling in water.
If you had one wish, what would it be?
L: I wish I could have a big rabbit for a pet.
M: To be October 8th and be six already.

What is the funniest word?
L:  I told you this already. (?) Cuckoo!
M: bleedle eedle eedle 

What is the hardest/easiest thing to do?
L: Clean up a lot of stuff/clean up cars
M: Do a puzzle, jigsaw/run around and play games

What is the best/worst thing in the world?
L: Wolverine, the most amazing super hero ever/if we say a bad word and get cocoa in our mouth.
M: Getting to eat healthy ice cream/eating terrible rotten food.

What is the meaning of life?
L: Jesus died and in three days rose up.
M: Staying alive (very literal on this one)

What makes you mad?
L:  When you yell at me. (Me: O_o) Well, you do.
M: If someone hits me.  (Me: Does someone hit you?  At school?) I said "If!"

What is the meaning of love?
L: You don't bother anyone
M: Liking people and not hating

If you had all the money in the world, what would you do?
L: Use it to buy a superhero
M: Buy books. Well, and food.

B is for b-boys. Or brats.

Often I write about the boys' accomplishments.  How lovely or funny or clever they are.

Ha!  Not yesterday.

Yesterday was their first day of breakdancing lessons and they were absolute stinkers. Not funny. Not cute.  Not clever.

At the end of the lesson, I was prepared for the teacher to have a change of heart- a polite excuse for why he couldn't keep up with the classes.  They were that wild.  But he shocked me by simply noting that they have a lot of energy and aren't afraid to try anything.  I guess that's one way to look at it.

Just a reminder to myself that even on their diet my boys have their moments.  Maybe we can harness all that wild and crazy energy into some really good tricks.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Seizures and surprises

Would you throw your kid a surprise party knowing that sudden startles sometimes trigger his seizures?

With a summer birthday, L's friends aren't always around for the big day.  Our good friends arranged a little pre-birthday gathering for him, since they will be gone for the summer- a little party, just our two families, but a surprise, complete with balloons and hiding places. 

I worried-and waffled- but in the end we went for it, and I'm so glad we did.  He was delighted and completely seizure-free.  We say we want him to live his life normally, so we have to treat him normally, too.

It would be foolish to avoid special surprises for fear of seizures. We got lucky, that day.  Today a bird flew in through the open window and we didn't. There isn't ever much rhyme or reason to it, but the bird today really helped me see that we can't forsee every trigger to manipulate his environment and make him into a boy that doesn't have seizures.

Just now I asked him if he felt like he was going to have a seizure when everyone jumped out and shouted, "Happy birthday!"

"No," he assured me.  "I felt like I was going to have a cupcake!"

Friday, June 6, 2014

Up, up, and away!

He made it!

Yesterday M's class celebrated the end of the school year with an Up, Up, and Away themed program.

The kids were adorable.  They charmed every parent there, but for me it was more than just sweet.  It was relief.

I watched as every one of the five-year-olds wiggled and squirmed, lost focus and then remembered what they'd practiced, and then forgot again and turned to chatter excitedly with the person in the next chair.

At the end, one girl frog-jumped up to receive her certificate. A boy on the end wouldn't stop pulling his shirt off his shoulder and saying "sexy boy!" during the photos.  And the mom across the aisle from me hissed at her daughter to quit messing around the entire time.  

I was so happy.  These are my people!  I'm not alone!  All our kids are crazy!

Seriously, though.  It was so eye-opening.  For the last ten months, every time M's teacher would make comments like, "M needs to work on his self-control" I would hear, "M's self-control is the worst in the class." I didn't even realize I was doing it.

I wasted so much anxiety over comments she might have been making to half the parents in the class.  They're five.  Why did I assume that everyone else had their act together?

M has been off additives, has been a 'normal kid', for two whole years.  I guess It's still hard not to see things through that lens.

Monday, June 2, 2014


M has a thing for manga and graphic novels.

I was not always a fan at first, but I've come around.

It's not just superheroes anymore!

I even saw a set of Jane Austen classics at the library!

So, anyway, on Sunday, when we saw a girl making comic likenesses at the farmers' market, we couldn't resist.

She thought L was a girl and neither one actually looks anything like them, but the boys didn't even seem to notice!