Snacks On a Plane! I Mean, In a Box.

This post is sponsored by NatureBox. As I have previously, excruciatingly, thoroughly documented, my children are hollow. Possibly hobbits.They are never NOT HUNGRY. They eat and they eat and they eat. An entire box of cereal can be emptied by the end of breakfast, and apparently fully digested an hour later, which is when they start pestering me about lunch. Can I have a snack? Is dinner ready? What's for dessert? Last night, after a dinner of fish, sweet potatoes and corn, they finished off all the ice cream in the freezer, and THEN mass-demanded the peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches I'd just finished making for their lunchboxes. Fine. I'll make more. Just don't eat me. (In other words: If I'm asked to do a sponsored post that involves me getting free food, I'm going to hurl myself at said sponsor and hug their leg while quietly weeping on the floor. Save me! Feed them!) So let's talk about snacks. So, so many snacks. When Noah was little he liked to ask for "a tiny, tiny snack" while scrunching up his face and pinching his fingers together, supposedly to represent the minuscule tininess of the snack he was requesting. Just a few bread... Read more →

Last First Day

It feels like the other two started school ages ago. Poor Baby Ike was our holdout. His school started today. After much back and forth and forth and back, I decided to enroll him in the school's full day option. He's not napping at home now that the crib's gone and my new job very much requires me to be working during those precious hours. He'll go to the "nap room" at school after lunch for some quiet/down time (GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, SCHOOL) and I'll pick him up in the afternoon, just before his brothers get home on the bus. I'm sure he'll be fine. But still. It's a lot of time away from him. And I won't have anyone to eat lunch with anymore. Boo. Speaking of lunches, three feels like a hell of a lot of lunches to pack. Good God. Is this life now? Every day? With the feeding and the coordinating? Here's what we're dealing with: Ike's school is nut free, Noah and Ezra's is not (unbelievable, but I'm not complaining). Ike's school provides free milk and a morning snack, Noah and Ezra both require beverages AND a separate snack for the classroom since lunch... Read more →

Three Nights Without Noodles

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. Just a few of the things I learned last week, during our three-night dinner adventure with Blue Apron: 1) Ike loves jicama. 2) Ezra loves eggplant. 3) Noah loves forbidden rice. 4) They ALL love quinoa. 5) I love quinoa. I just haven't been cooking it right. I also learned that I really need to challenge my kids more often. And myself. And also grocery shopping can bite me. Three (recyclable, biodegradable) boxes of food were delivered to our door, each containing three nights' worth of meals for two people, plus recipes. (Click here to see the current delivery zones.) All the ingredients are locally sourced, labeled and perfectly portioned, along with any special oils, sauces and spice blends. I'd rounded up to six servings for our family of five because I have hollow children, but we totally did not need the third box, like AT ALL. My bad, Blue Apron. I unintentionally scammed you. Two boxes easily fed all of us, with enough leftovers for me to get a really satisfying lunch out of the next day. (Not that box number three is going to waste or anything. We’re zipping through recipe... Read more →

The Get-Off-Your-Ass Chart

Here's a tricky bit of pregnancy math: Of all three pregnancies, I gained the least weight with Ike. Mostly thanks to the fact that I spent at least six months of the pregnancy actively barfing, and felt nauseous for all nine. I think the final weigh-in clocked my total gain at like, 10 or 12 pounds. Seven pounds of which were the actual baby, so I felt pretty confident that I'd be back to my pre-pregnancy weight in no time. Three years later, I'm still not there. Those 10 or 12 pounds just...stayed, even after the baby and all his baby-related accessories had vacated. And then those 10 or 12 pounds became 15. This past winter, it was more like 20. I stopped weighing myself after that. And if we were talking about my weight pre-Noah, well. OMG. Three years later, it finally occurred to me that oh. This is going to keep on...going up, like that, if I don' something? About it? I guess? Well, okay. It had technically occurred to me that I needed to do something before now, but the whole actually doing something never quite got off the ground too successfully. I'd make some big grand... Read more →

Home Alone

Oh oh oh! AND THEN! Jason left for a short business trip yesterday, right after I got back from my suuuuuper-relaxing dental appointment and a milk/eggs/cereal run, because I know how to Treat Mah Self. And I do mean short. As in, he's already on his way home now. Less than 30 hours of solo parenting. Way less once you factor in 1) sleep and 2) the fact that I mostly hid from my children all afternoon yesterday. I put Ike down for a nap, deposited every blinky-gaming-type phone/tablet/screen we own on the coffee table for the older two, then barricaded myself in my office and tried to get work done. Nobody was to bother me unless they were bleeding. Profusely. Y'all know where the band-aids are, work it out. (AWKWARD RECIPE SEGUE LIKE A BOSS) Even dinner was leftovers, for God's sake — I made some rice and nuked up bowls of our Surprising Recipe Home Run Success of the Month, aka a curried lentil and swiss chard stew with chickpeas, aka one of those ideas you get that flies in the face of all good sense and logic and totally works out anyway. My kids — a couple... Read more →

Today in Further Tales From Obviousville

So here's a confession, of sorts: For YEARS, I blamed myself for Noah's picky eating habits. It was all my fault, you see, because I'd done some very specific things "wrong" when he was a baby and toddler. I started solids too early, I relied almost exclusively on jarred/packaged/processed baby foods, I never incorporated child-led weaning practices, I let his pickiness rattle me and I made it all a big deal, I short-order cooked for him and eventually mealtimes just devolved into dry Cheerios, peanut-butter crackers and a cup of milk because I just couldn't deal with it. And here's part two of my confession: For YEARS, I have likewise taken full credit for Ezra's non-picky eating habits. Because with him, you see, I did everything RIGHT. I delayed solids and let him take the lead, I made all his baby food from scratch, I grew our own fruits and vegetables so everything was as fresh as possible, I exposed him to a ton of variety, I gave him what the rest of the family ate whenever possible, I included him in food shopping/prep/cooking and yet above all remained cool and unflappable in the face of food whims and rejections.... Read more →

Dinner in Real Life, v.2

So it's pretty clear to me that if I want to keep going with the Dinner in Real Life-type posts (in which I give y'all a THRILLING 1,000+ WORD RUNDOWN on what we fucking ate for dinner, because you care and you care deeply) I really need to remember to take some goddamn photos before all the food disappears into our face holes. Photographing the recipes for blogging usually occurs to me the day after, while I'm reheating the leftovers in the microwave, and I am sorry, but making leftovers look like anything other than a choppy mess of brownish things is way beyond my modest skills. Look at this two-day old pasta! It is vaguely reminiscent of the idea of al dente! Bon appetit! Or I decide to document the preparation steps and...well, this happens: Remember the mini chicken and broccoli pot pies? I make those about once a week, because they are easy and the kids love them and FINE, I love them because it sort of feels like I'm eating Hostess pies for dinner. HOWEVER: No, I am not rolling out the world's biggest quadruple batch there; that's what happens when I plunge face first into a... Read more →

Dinner in Real Life

READERS BEWARE: There' s a ridiculous amount of boring dinner/cooking-type talk ahead. Also an inordinate number of parentheticals, even for me. I tried to make it funny. I tried and I probably failed. In other words, hold onto your butts, and may God have mercy on your souls. I have to admit I really enjoy rappin' with y'all about the cooking topic — trying to keep a family happy while not losing your mind with boredom over making the same damn recipe over and over and over again, and also trying to expand kids' culinary horizons without a full-on uprising at the dinner table. I've had a modest string of successes over the past couple weeks, happily enough. (Interspersed with nights when I was like, fuck it, here's mac-and-cheese and fishsticks; Jason, just pick up some sushi on your way home, okay?) (Last night was one of those nights. Ezra asked to try some tuna sashimi. I was very impressed until he spat it out half-chewed in disgust because DAMN, THAT WAS MY TUNA SASHIMI.) (Oh, and I also completely borked up something previously tried-and-true: Smitten Kitchen's most excellent chana masala. I overdid the cayenne and had the bright idea... Read more →

Another Super-Exciting Post About What We Ate This Week, Oh My GOD

(So it's come to this. Oh, blogging. The world had such high hopes for you!) Despite the now-documented existence of ZOMBIE BETCHTABULS, Ezra continues to blow my tiny little mind with his love of salad. And Noah continues to glare tiredly at me, meal after meal, because he is NOT RELATED TO THAT FREAK OVER THERE. THE ONE EATING RAW LETTUCE LEAVES. So meal planning continues to be a delicate dance o' Food Tetris — Child A will eat this but not that, Child B will eat that but not this. Child C is a wildcard, accepting and rejecting foods randomly and capriously like a total freaking jerk. Meanwhile, Jason and I would also, you know, like to eat things that we like. And to eat things that are healthy-to-healthy-ish, but are satisfying enough to curb the 10 pm cravings for ALL THE CARBS IN THE HOUSE. And can it not take a million hours to make? Also, please include some free diamonds and a unicorn, while we're making requests. We have had some successes, though. Noah discovered that he likes carrots. Cooked carrots, anyway, and carrots that have been glazed in butter and maple syrup. Which...okay, maybe not the... Read more →

Salad Days

About two months ago, Ezra randomly announced that he loved salad. I believe his exact words were, "Salad? I LOVE salad!" (Note that no one was even eating salad at the time. But such is The Ezra, The Neverending Mystery of Weird.) I also believe that prior to that announcement, he had never willingly taken a bite of anything that would traditionally be considered "salad" in his entire life. Ezra, as you know, has always been a good eater — though prone to fickle fits of pickiness just like any toddler and preschooler, rejected previously loved foods for no real reason other to drive his mother to (more) drink — but...lettuce? Plain raw vegetables that have not been doused in cheese or purposely hidden inside of something more acceptable? Or basically any vegetable that is not a pea, a carrot or a sweet potato? It seemed like a stretch, even for him. But sure enough, a couple nights later we made these Asian turkey lettuce wrap things that Jason and I go for when we cannot bear the thought of another goddamned taco night. The kids all like the filling, which we usually serve over rice or noodles for them.... Read more →