Lemonade Like Grandma Made

On a particularly slow Friday afternoon, I had the ingenious idea to set up a lemonade stand with the kids. Our neighbors were having their biannual enormous yard sale (wooo….) so there was lots of foot traffic on our street.

Baylor kills me. She insisted on tongs for the food and asked if we had plastic gloves for “safe food handling”.

We were doing well, until Peter got a look at our stand. “I can build them something better” he said. And build he did.

In one day we went from this:

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To this:

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Complete with a hidden shelf for extra supplies and their money box. Between the foot traffic to the yard sale and the social media outreach, they made about $5! But the fun of decorating and using their new stand was priceless.

I snapped this picture during the building process…

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I always get the credit for the kids. I’ve had parents I don’t know spot Baylor across the playground and know she was mine just by looking at her. But this picture is so perfect because Auggie is a dead ringer for a little PW. Peter’s a little older in this picture, but those cheeks are the giveaway.

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All the Feels

While eating her dinner, watching me make lunches for the next day, Baylor asked

“could you please cut my cheese into a heart shape?”.

WTF? My first response was an incredulous “whose MOTHER is cutting their cheese into heart shapes in your class??”.  Because clearly someone is making all the other moms look bad. It’s not enough that I A. remembered to pack a lunch B. it was something you liked and C. it was reasonably healthy…now I have to cut shit into hearts too?? Gah! I can’t keep up. Why is just making a nice meal not enough? Why does it have to have fireworks and hearts too?

When I found out who the culprit was, I was knocked back down a bit. I actually really like this mom. So if she was taking the time to cut hearts, I could too. And it turns out, I’m pretty good at free handing hearts in dairy substances with a butter knife.

The next day when I picked up Auggie from class, the first thing his teachers said was “he loved that cheese heart so much!”. All smiles, he ran up for a hug. It was a good reminder – the little things count. They get noticed and they are important. Yes, healthy delicious meals are important too, but that little extra thing makes a big difference.

I got all inspired and found a three pack of cutters that were made for sandwich. Dolphins, dinosaurs and of course, hearts. I surprised the kids with dinosaur shaped grilled cheese that night for dinner. Baylor was thrilled. Auggie, not so much. It turns out he’s not such a big fan of eating dinosaur heads. Or dolphin tails for that matter. So back we go to free handed heart shaped cheese. And peanut butter cups. Nothing says love like a peanut butter cup.

Ladybug Ladybug, Welcome Home

This growing season has been a tough one for my lettuce table. Normally by Christmas we are out cutting fresh leaves for salad every day. This year the hot – cold – hot temperatures in the fall made for some rough growing. I finally got the right combination of morning sun, umbrella shade in the afternoon and a weekly hit of a 20-20-20 fertilizer and boom! Lettuce for days. Weeks. Months!

As I was cutting the first good crop, I noticed black bugs on the leaves. Like a lot of black bugs. aphids to be exact. It dawned on me later that we’ve always had a praying mantis in the garden. He (she?) reappeared sometime in the fall and apparently she (he?) was working to keep the aphid population in check. But this year he/she didn’t come back so when the mantis is away, the aphids will play.

And play those little bastards did.

I want the lettuce table to be organic so I didn’t want to spray any pesticides.  I used an insecticidal soap which is safe for humans, but allegedly the aphids don’t like it and they should leave when you spray it. I swear to God, those little assholes laughed when I sprayed it on the leaves. I saw one pretending to take a shower with the soap while he laughed with his friends. All the while eating my plants.

When I gave my mom a big bag of lettuce, I told her to make sure to wash it well to get the bugs off. “Don’t worry.” she said. ” I just serve the salad with poppy seed dressing so in case I missed any bugs, you can’t tell.”

It’s amazing I came out as normal as I did.

Anyway. I decided I couldn’t take it any more and after several phone calls to local nurseries and Google searches, I found a retailer that would ship me some ladybugs asap. Ladybugs are natural predators of aphids and they won’t hurt my lettuce. Not to mention they are adorable. Yesterday when the little ventilated box arrived, it was like Christmas. No one should get this excited about a box of bugs…and yet there I was, sprinkling ladybugs onto the leaves of the lettuce saying go! eat, my pretties! eat them all!!! while laughing manaicly.

The kids were entranced by the hard work the ladybugs were doing – within an hour of being on the leaves, they were eating to their hearts content. Gone were the sounds of those little jerks laughing. Now all we could hear was the nom nom nom sounds of the ladybug lunch.

Muuuahhhaaahhhhaahhaa!!!

So delicious. Until you notice the bugs…

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Workin’ hard!

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Parental Punt

Some days, there just isn’t enough time for it all.

Normally, I can schedule my work time around the kid’s school hours and or nap time. In a perfect world, I pack it all in and I’m able to leave my desk and desk top sorted and to do list checked off ad the first sound of a waking child.

For the last 6 weeks, that has not been the case. In addition to a larger than usual work load, there are about 9 other plates spinning above my head perched precariously on little sticks. I look like a circus side show desperately trying to keep all the plates spinning in the air. And when one of the plates is not spinning fast enough – or at all – the mom guilt kicks in. Big time.

And thus, the parental punt.

Yes they eat. They get baths. Their clothes are clean-ish. But they watch more cartoons than they should. Laundry sits longer than I’d like it to. We eat out too much or worse, there are way too many meals of quesadillas without a veggie in sight. I drop them off at the first minute they can be on campus per our tuition bracket and pick up at the last second. There is far too much wine consumed and too few hours slept.

But there is a light. I won’t always be the kicker. Soon there will be enough time, energy and daylight to run the ball in. At least, that’s what I tell myself to dissuade the mom guilt.  That and a few carrots on their plates should do the trick.