Mayonnaise Jar & Two Beers…

Okay, I didn’t write this and I don’t know who did, but whoever did – thank you. My mom sent this to me and I couldn’t agree with its message any more than I do. I hope anyone now reading it can appreciate it asynchronous as I do!

Mayonnaise Jar & Two Beers…

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle; when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the Mayonnaise Jar and the 2 Beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with
golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.

The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the
golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.

Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He asked once more if the jar was full?

The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two real beers (not Bud or Miller) from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed!

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car..

The sand is everything else—the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children.

Spend time with your parents,
brothers and sisters.

Visit with grandparents.

Take your spouse out to dinner.

Play another 18 holes of golf.

There will always be time to clean the house, fix the disposal or deal with things from your job.

Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter.

Set your priorities.

The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.

The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’

The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend!

Summer Then & Now

Summer time used to be a time of running around in the sprinklers and riding my bike for hours before finally running into the house truly exhausted and collapsing on the living room floor. Mom would tell me to clean up for dinner and my sister and I would lay there laughing.

Then summer became a time of sleep overs with friends, hanging out at the mall and dating.

When college came around summer meant more school, working full-time and producing theatre with a group of friends, and of course dating!

Now, summer is better than I could have ever imagined it to be. I’m a mom do I finally get to ride my bike and take walks again. I get to run through the sprinklers with my kids and spray them with the hose while the run around screaming and laughing. We eat Popsicles on the porch and sing in the back yard. Then when the day is over we can collapse in the floor of the living room in laughter. Sure I still have to work full-time but somehow it doesn’t seem as tiring as it used to. Now I just enjoy the time I have with my family and I don’t worry about the rest!

That’s what makes my summer so special. What do you love about summer?




Kids in the Kitchen

Okay, I’m going to admit something that I’m not all that proud of… Wait for it… I don’t cook! There, I said it. Now we can move on.

I guess I should explain. It isn’t that I don’t cook, because I do. It’s just that I have a few dishes that I am really comfortable making and I kind of get stuck making the same things over and over. Which, of course is boring, for my husband, for my kids, and of course for me. In the end it leads to my husband doing most of the cooking. Besides he is a pretty picky eater, he prefers his own cooking, and he is actually a really good cook. Therefore, I have learned, over the years, not to take it personally and instead to just feel lucky that my husband wants to do the cooking.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not totally incompetent in the kitchen. I actually love to bake. Though my husband doesn’t really eat sweets. That leaves me and the kids to finish every brownie, cake, cupcake, pie, etc. Therefore, I am now on a diet. Isn’t life grand.

You might be wondering how this blog ties into the title of ‘Kids in the Kitchen’ well, let me tell you. With my kids getting older I would have hoped to have more time to spend with them one on one, but that isn’t the case. Between working full-time; carpooling the kids to school, daycare, t-ball, girl scouts, week-end playdates, the park, shopping, and everywhere else; my theatre, my husbands golf, etc., etc., etc. there is little time to just sit and relax enjoying some mommy time with the kids. The kitchen then becomes a  place to catch up on what my kids did during school and all the other great parts of their day.

So, my challenge to myself, and to all of you is this… wait for it…

Spend some quality ‘KIDS IN THE KITCHEN’ time over the next few weeks. I have given a few great recipes below that are easy to make, and even more fun to make with your kids. Start easy, make it fun, but always remember safety comes first in the kitchen. Follow my three easy rules of the kitchen:

(1) No kids by the stove!!! Depending on their hight they may not be able to see that the stove is hot, and it only takes a second to burn their little hands.

(2) Wash your hands!!! Kids put their hands everywhere and don’t always remember to wash them. The first thing you should do when starting to cook with kids is wash your hands and theirs, and its alright to wash them again throughout the cooking process if needed.

(3) Have FUN!!! Cooking with kids should be fun, and its okay if it’s a little messy. Brooms, vacuums, even dogs are great for clean-up. Enjoy your time and don’t worry about the mess until the end.

Now, what should you make? Good questions. Like I said, start easy. If you’ve never cooked with your kids before then pick up a box of Kraft macaroni & cheese Deluxe. You boil the water and make sure the noodles are all cooked and drained, and the rest is up to the kids. It’s really just two easy steps:

(1) squeeze the Cheese

(2) Stir, Stir, Stir

My kids have so much fun making this dinner. One gets to be the cook and the other gets to dish out the food onto the plates.

So, you think you’re ready for some more elaborate dishes? Good, I have just the thing. I picked up a great cookbook for kids and have found that the dishes are pretty easy to make and actually really yummy for kids of all ages.

(1) Berry and Yogurt parfait for Breakfast – This one is great because there is NO COOKING involved, and the kids can create it anyway they want. All you need is vanilla yogurt, fresh or frozen mixed berries, and granola. Let your kids put it together in their bowl in layers or mixed all together. Either way they’ll have fun and get a healthy breakfast too.

(2) Monkey Bread – This sticky treat is sure to put a smile on your kids faces for breakfast or just a mid day snack. You will need 1/2 cup of butter, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup chopped pecans (and a couple of tablespoons finely chopped), 2.5 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, sweet white bread rolls (store-bought frozen rolls work just fine), a little all-purpose flour, and a bundt pan. Your going to melt a little butter and brush it all over the inside of the bundt pan. Then mix  together the brown sugar, 1/2 cup of pecans, and cinnamon – Set it aside. Sprinkle the rest of the pecans over the bottom of the pan! Now place the thawed rolls on a lightly floured surface and then roll the rolls through melted butter, and then into the brown-sugar mixture. As you do this place each roll into the pan. You may have to work to make them all fit, but they will! Now, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees for about 5 minutes then turn the oven off. You will cover the dough and let it rise, in the warm oven, for about an hour. Remove the pan from the oven and pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake until richly browned and a toothpick comes out clean (about 30-35 minutes.). Let cool for 5 minutes and serve warm. Remember – let your kids do everything that doesn’t involve the oven, that part is for you mom!

(3) Crescent-Wrapped Hot Dogs – for lunch. Remember pigs in a blanket? This is more like hogs in a comforter because they are bigger and more filling. So, you will need store-bought crescent rolls (I like Pillsbury), All-purpose flour for dusting, shredded cheese – if your kids like it, hot dogs, and of course condiments for dipping: ketchup, mustard, pickle relish, etc. First lay out wax paper all over your kitchen table, and sprinkle with a light dusting of flour. Then unroll the crescent. this is the time to let you kids sprinkle on the cheese if they want, and roll up their dogs! More cheese can be added to the outside if they want. Bake the hot dogs until the dough is golden brown 10-13 minutes at 350 degrees. When they’re done take them out of the oven and allow to cool slightly and serve warm. Your kids will love putting them together and then tearing them apart as they eat them up.

(4) Nutty Caramel Apples – Snack. Okay this one is messy, but oh so yummy. You will need: Apples, Chopped Pecans, and 1 container of soft caramel dip. Mom you’ll want to cover the table in wax paper because caramel can be a little hard to clean. Then, slice up a few apple, any will do. Give the kids the apple slices to dip them half way into the caramel (you can also use chocolate), then they will roll the caramel-coated part of the apple in the nuts. You will want to help them press the nuts gently into the caramel to help them stay on better. Line all of the apple slices onto a wax paper lined baking sheet and let stand until the caramel has set, normally about 10 minutes (Some brands need to be cooled in the refrigerator to set). Then, ENJOY!!!

I hope you and your little ones have fun in the kitchen!!!

One Step at a Time…

Have you ever had one of those days, where every inch of your body and soul wants to be creative, but the world around you is just fighting you every step of the way?! Yeah, well that’s where I am today…

I have been sitting in front of my computer; with a story line, a plot, and a goal, for the last hour. Yet every two minutes one of my kids bursts into the room yanking me out of my concentration and forcing me to listen to their whining and complaining.

I thought that taking them for a mile and a half hike through the cold caverns would wear them down and make them lethargic enough to sit on the couch and rest for a while, but no such luck! Apparently exercise only invigorates my children’s sense of adventure and energizes them to make it through the rest of their day.

Thus, meeting my goal of making it through chapter eleven of my book seemed to quickly be slipping away. That was until I discovered the power of Pepperidge Farm cookies. That’s right, Pepperidge Farm cookies happen to be a lot like crack to children. They love them, and will do just about anything for them, to include sitting quietly while watching a movie so that mommy could get some quiet time. Ah, the power the cookie.

I hammered my way through chapter eleven, and quickly moved on to chapter twelve. Who knows if any of it is any good… I certainly don’t, but I’m enjoying the process, and to me that is the goal! At least for now. When I’m done the goal will be to publish, but for now I’m taking it one step at a time…