We reached a major milestone in our family today.

It wasn’t one of those big ones they tell you about in baby books, nothing involving potty training or lost teeth. It wasn’t even one of those that parents dream of together while talking at the edges of playgrounds.  Nothing like being able to buckle their own car seats and pour themselves cereal on a Saturday morning.

No, today, officially, all of our children can cut up their own pork chop.

Pork chop cutting is nothing like pancake cubing, or carrot slicing or even chicken chunking. No, pork chop cutting is hard. It requires a sharp knife and use of a fork at the same time, combine that with a meat that isn’t known as the most tender of dishes, and inevitably they make the terrible silverware on a plate screech.


Pork chop cutting is, in the words of my nephew, the worstest.

I loath pork chop cutting so much that I stopped buying, making and cooking pork chops. When John insisted I was being ridiculous, I said that was fine, if he made them he could also cut them. ALL of them. Because, there was a time in the house that if you were going to make pork chops you would have to cut up three other peoples’ pork chops in addition to your own. And you can’t just cut them into man sized hunks but r


ather into tiny, little, chew-able, girl, tidbits.

In addition, anyone with kids who isn’t some sort of super mom (the variety who gets all the required food, accouterments and drinks to the table before they sit down) knows that a mom doesn’t simply sit at the table, cut up pork chops and eat.

Oh no.

There are water spills to manage, bbq sauce to retrieve, the last pot of beans that you forgot to get, a cat to lock up, a dog to let out to pee, a kid to send to the bathroom and – oh look. You’ve only cut up one and half pork chops and the other cat is busy dragging yours out the door because you weren’t looking. But it’s fine because it’s cold and hard now and you can’t actually imagine risking more of that screeching noise to cut up another one anyway

And that is why I banned pork chops.


Tonight John made pork loin, which I am well aware is just a sneaky way of getting around the no pork chop rule. But tonight all the girls cut up their pork by themselves. They didn’t even ask for anything more than to pass the knife.

Pork chops are back on the menu!

Napkins Please

I have noticed a disturbing trend in the amount of napkins passed through a fast food drive thru window.

Namely that the amount is decreasing as time goes by and occasionally, none make the passage from restaurant to car.  That’s right, no napkins what. so. ever.

This is a photo of a kid taken by another kid. According to the bag in her hand it is clear that both of them will soon be in the need of many napkins. I had no idea this picture was being taken, I was driving. (Side note: When you save a million photos you really can find a picture for everything…)

Possibly you are mentally praising these fine establishments for their environmentally friendly practices as well as their money saving techniques. Fine, sure, that’s a factor. In fact I’m sure that piles of math people put a bunch of factors together and decided that if they stopped handing out napkins to poor deserving mothers, they would save 7,00,000,000 trees per year.

But here is some math of my own for you.

3 kids+ 1 moving vehicle+ any kind of food = the need for 5,678 napkins per child

Possibly some of you are mentally scolding me for letting my children eat in the car or eating from fast food establishments to begin with.  I’d argue that point except the thought of not feeding my kids while driving made me snort diet coke out my nose with laughter.


Not an option.

Question: Solve for X,  3 kids + 1 truck + 4 hours of driving + X = 30 min of quiet

Answer: French fries

Possibly you are thinking we could use our own hand towels. And I have! I have wiped up ketchup spills with dirty socks and mopped spilled drinks with shirts I found crammed under the seat and used the pants that were still in the back from the last major food catastrophe to clean up the current one. But you know what happens to those lovely reusable bits of cloth.


Because if I were the kind of person who took everything out of the vehicle once we got home, I wouldn’t have had any “napkins” to begin with.

Question: If one mom has two hands and three kids have six hands and there are 45,689 items in the truck that should come into the house and mom has to pee, how many things make it through the front door?

Answer:  7: a cell phone, two “don’t-touch-it’s-special-to-me” toys and four pieces of junk mail.

And one final math problem for you.

Question: If three kids change their orders 3.4 times each, what is the percentage chance that the mother will also remember to ask for napkins when picking the food up at the window?

Answer: 0%

Extra credit: How many orders will she get wrong?

Answer: 1.3 but only because the kids changed their mind again after the order was placed.

In conclusion: Give a mother some napkins!  The math says she needs them.




“It’s Too Hot!”

Jane dislikes her food when it’s too hot.


That’s not correct.

When Jane’s food is too hot, she perceives it as a personal attack on her happiness and well being and holds me directly responsible for the offense.


That’s more accurate.

While she howls and give me looks that would no doubt sear the meat from my own bones I try to explain to her, how this “cooking” thing works.

I try to tell her that in order to melt cheese that heat must be applied. I try to tell her that in order to eat that nice pig we raised we need to cook the meat. I try to tell her that we have to cook the meat so that the proteins in the muscles become denatured as that makes them more palatable and digestible. I try to tell her that cooking kills the cysts of parasites we would very much like not to contract as well as a number of bacteria we do our best to avoid. Most importantly I try to tell her that the very act of “cooking” implies that heat is being used and that heat is, by very definition –

Then I try to tell her to just wait a minute and it’ll cool down enough to eat.

Then I try to tell her that it is cool enough to eat.

But when she pokes it with the end of her dainty finger she still finds it to be higher than her 98.6 degree body temperature she howls at me again- clearly I was trying to trick her into scorching her mouth with food that is certainly still, by her definition, “too hot!”

Eventually, because thermodynamics is a real thing, the food is no longer “too hot” to her sensitive touch and she eats a bite but by then…. you guessed it…

It’s too cold.




Three Cheers For Meat!

It wasn’t intentional, raising such a meat lover. It just sort of, happened.

I mean, it’s true, I never ate anything green until I was 12, 24, 30, but vegetables now routinely infiltrate our meals. And, along side those much contested vegetables are the animals. Birds we’ve been out hunting go straight to the table and everyone agreed that Archibald tasted delicious. So while vegetables have often been a sore subject around the dinner table, the girls have grown up knowing where their meat came from and occasionally what it’s name was. Something that turns others’ stomachs has been a fact of life for the girls for so long as to be a non-issue.

Now deer season and the source of most of our red meat for the year has arrived. Personally, I have yet to be convinced that waking up early and sitting in a tree in the cold would be a super fun plan, but one morning John left the house to do just that. When the girls asked where he was, I told them he was out hunting and maybe, if we were lucky, he’d bring a deer home

“Yay!”, Jane cried.

“Yay for meat!”, she cheered as she jumped up and down.

“Meat! Meat! Meat! Meat!”

I guess, thinking back to her involvement last year, I shouldn’t be surprised. Jane helping grind meatThe picture might be a year old but she’s lost none of her enthusiasm for the rewards of deer hunting!

Love and Sloppy Joes

I made my kids sloppy joes.

This is a big deal.

This is an act that fully demonstrates my unending devotion to the little demons I have spawned.

Because sloppy joes are terrible.

I first discovered the terribleness of sloppy joes as a kid. Strangely enough it was shortly after I discovered that I liked sloppy joes. I, super picky eater of a kid, had just deemed them an edible food when I visited a friend and discovered the terrible truth.

All sloppy joes are not created equal.

Some of them are nothing more than a nasty mash of ground meat in tomato based substance (which I found palatable as a child because it was basically meat and white bread) but many rotten mothers hide vegetables in their sloppy joes. That’s right, vegetables hidden in what was thought to be delicious food. My faith in sloppy joes was shattered and never recovered.

But my hatred of making sloppy joes stems from more than just my childhood betrayal.  The real problem with making sloppy joes is the ketchup. It may be Un-American of me but I really hate ketchup. It’s not just that I dislike eating it. I’d really prefer not to smell it or have it touch me, or anything else within a 20 foot radius of me.

I seriously hate ketchup.

But I have girls who love ketchup. If they had their way everything would come with ketchup. Fortunately, they don’t have their way, they have my way. Because, in the monarchy that is our household, the queen refuses to deal with ketchup unless absolutely necessary.

This has resulted in a “sure kid, you can have ketchup with your hot dog but you have to be the one to touch the bottle and then you have to rinse your plate off when you are done before it goes in the dishwasher because I’m not getting near that evil substance” sort of policy.

I hear ketchup is made from tomatoes, I don’t find this to be at all plausible because tomatoes in all forms are quite palatable. Ketchup is not.

But…Ivy found a recipe all on her own for sloppy joes and asked nicely.  I shuddered as I read the amount of required ketchup and went to the grocery store for buns.

Because that’s how much I love my girls.

Then, because I do so love my children and regularly force them to eat things with asparagus and onions, I braved the ketchup and made them sloppy joes (without hidden veggies, because if I was going to make the stuff they were going to eat it!).

They looked nasty, they smelled worse, they brought back horrible memories of sneaky vegetable filled sloppy joes and the girls ate them all up and asked for seconds.

I cringed scooping up another sandwich but consoled myself with the knowledge that I had really showed my children how much I loved them, making them something special yet repulsive to me just because they are such good kids. Clearly this batch of slop should earn me extra special mom points and…

“Could you put extra ketchup on mine?”

What?!? Seriously? After all I’ve done!?!

I delivered the bottle to the table and backed away as Ivy applied more ketchup to her sandwich. Then Jane asked for ketchup, and a banana.

Kids, give them an inch and they try to take a mile. Clearly Jane was unsatisfied with the level of devotion I was showing and she’s going to stay that way.

The only food item that can compete with the horror of ketchup is the banana.

I love my children so much I made them sloppy joes, but there will be no bananas in the house while this queen is still ruling.



Wrens, Bees and a Little Perspective

I spent some time watching the wrens feed their babies.young wren

And I spent some time watching the bees come and go from the hives. bees entering hive

The bees, with their thousands of young waiting to be fed inside, still  looked lazy compared to that Mamma wren.wren feeding young

And I? It suddenly seemed that I had a life of leisure, feeding my children only occasionally throughout the day. young wrenNow I’m hoping my girls get a good look at just what those babies get fed for dinner.DSCN8689-(2sm)

Perspective, it’s an interesting thing.

When I Grow Up…

Ivy: “I changed my mind I don’t want to be a mom when I grow up. I’m going to be a diver.”

Me: “You could be a diver and a mom.”

Ivy: “No, because if I had children then I would have to cook a lot of food.”

Me: “Yup, and you know what they would say -“

Ivy: “-I don’t like it.”Ivy
Ivy: “But Mom, you know what I’d do. I wouldn’t give them anything else.”

Me: “Huh.  Do you think I should try that?”

Ivy: “No, you shouldn’t do that because your the best mom on the whole world! And besides I don’t even know how to cook yet!”

This conversation occurred after a long painful supper. It was meal that eventually met the high standards of politeness and “trying it” before Ivy’s benevolent mother offered her reheated leftovers after everyone else was done eating.

Toad in the Hole

I’ve been making Toad in the Holes as a quick breakfast for the girls and I can’t decide if I should continue.

Is it the best breakfast food to keep everyone happy?

Or are the resulting plates just too ridiculous?toad in a hole

(And no, they won’t trade plates when they are “done.”)

Melts In Your Mouth…

Poor Jane.

She came to me, M&M in hand, bemoaning the fact that it did indeed melt in her hand, not in her mouth.

Jane went on to explain that since the first was clearly defective she would like another to replace it.

Sadly, in this world you can’t make it to your second birthday before you learn the realities of marketing ploys and the even harsher news about reading the “fine print”.

Because, as I explained to her, even if the “not in your hand” part of the slogan were a true warranty I’m certain that the fine print on such a thing would ensure that any moisture on the M&M would render the entire warranty null and void.melts in your mouth not in your hand

I then went on to clarify that, yes, sucking on it and spitting it back out numerous times does constitute “moisture” on the M&M.

And so she was left with her unsatisfactory M&M situation until the next time she uses her potty chair.

Poor Jane.