Friday, June 28, 2019

7 Quick Takes about Meal Preparation Nirvana, the Dark Side of Furniture Shopping, and What I Get for Trying to Be a Super Mom

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


I've always tried to have the kids help with meal prep, but this summer I got serious about it and assigned each of the four oldest children lunch and dinner one day per week.

It has been life-changing.

If I do everything myself, summer vacation is a never-ending cycle of preparing food, eating food, and cleaning up food.

Now I'm in charge of lunch and dinner about once a week. My involvement in meal prep is maybe reminding the kid in charge that it's their turn. Other than that, I just help as needed but mostly stay out of their way.

They choose the menu, write their own grocery list, and when we go shopping I send them off with a basket to find what they need. We meet up at the register where I pay for everything (my 15-year-old just buys what she needs after work, since she conveniently works at the grocery store.)

I love so many things about this system. I love that they're learning how to comparison shop, find things in the grocery store, and cook semi-nutritious meals.

But most of all, I love that they finally get a taste of what it's like to cook with kids swirling around you whining about how starving they are, and then when dinner is actually ready a half-hour later no one will stop what they're doing to come to the table.


Little kid-speak is the best. If my 3-year-old hadn't told me, I'd never know that the past tense of "drive" is actually "druved."

I also overheard a funny conversation the other night. The 3-year-old, who's potty trained during the day but still wears a diaper at night, ran up to Phillip holding his pajamas and diaper and said, "We shouldn't goes potty after our diaper is on."

"No," Phillip agreed, reaching for the diaper.

"Well... I didn't went potty."

And with that, the 3-year-old ran to the bathroom.


Last week I mentioned my 1st-grader bringing home her writing journal from school, and posted a picture of a page where she'd drawn hearts all over and written, "I Love My mom So much I wont to giv her a dozin harts [sic]."


But in the spirit of presenting the facts in a fair and balanced manner, I also need to share something else.

This week I was watching her flip through the pages of a notebook she'd brought to church, mostly filled with drawings of fairies and unicorns but then she turned the page that simply said "I HATE MOM AND DAD."

So there you go.

I wanted to take a picture (or at least tell Phillip why I was practically busting a gut trying not to laugh in church,) but she scribbled it out and looked so embarrassed about the whole thing, I had to let it slide.


It's been a rainy June so far, but Saturday was a nice day so we decided to go to the rail trail in the next town over for a family bike ride.

As if that was something we could just do in shorter than the time it would take to actually pack up the entire house and move there.

It took forever, especially since the older kids haven't even used their bikes since last fall so we had to pump up all the tires. Then we had to load up six bikes plus the bike trailer for the little kids, and caravan it over there since we're a two-car family.

But it was worth it (I think) once we got out there. The sun was shining, the kids showed greater stamina than I expected, and it turned out halfway through our ride there was a park/beach having their opening day celebration. So we stopped to let the little kids run off some energy after riding in the bike trailer while we listened to some live music for free. One of our girls even participated in the hula hoop contest.

It ended up being a much longer thing than planned and Phillip bent a wheel on his bike, but all in all I still say it was a good day.


Even though my kids read more than any other humans I've ever known, and at any given time we have a list of library books checked out the length of my arm, I hate the library's summer reading program.

For us, it turns reading from a delightful pasttime for my kids into a chore for me ("Time me!" "How long was I reading?") and makes trips to the library stressful ("Go back, I forgot my reading log at home!!")

So we never, ever participate.

But my 7-year-old was super-excited to do the summer reading program this year and begged me to sign up.

"Fine," I told her. "But it's going to be completely your responsibility. I'm not in charge of timing your reading or reminding you to fill out your log or remembering to bring it to the library. Understand?"

Beaming with enthusiasm, she agreed and signed up for the summer reading program.

And then forgot her reading log in the library when we went home.


If my kids ever want to know what it's like to be an adult, I'm going to tell them about my most recent nightmare.

What are their nightmares about? Bears? Sharks? Tornadoes? I just had a nightmare about buying a new couch.

We were at the furniture store and after Phillip sat down on a couch for about 5 seconds he said, "I like this one, let's get it." So I picked up my phone to tell the salespeople we were buying it and to send the delivery people right over.

The second I hung up I was like, "Wait a minute! I haven't even sat on the couch yet! It's microfiber: it's going to look like garbage in a week! I hate the color! All the pillows and cushions are detachable and they'll be all over the floor all the time! WE CANNOT GET THIS COUCH!"

I was a nervous wreck standing there waiting for the delivery people to come pick up the couch (yes, I realize that isn't how furniture delivery actually works.)

I kept asking Phillip, "Shouldn't we call back and say we changed our minds?" and he kept insisting that he liked this couch, and besides, this was a local business and didn't we want to support local businesses?

I woke up in terror just as the delivery people arrived to bring the couch to our house.

(If you are Stephen King, please click the 'contact me' tab at the top of the page to brainstorm ideas for a new book.)


Sometimes I make parenting memes on Facebook (if you're not there, you're missing out!) Remember this one?

Have you read 7 Quick Takes? It's the hilarious weekly recap of the Unremarkable Files family of 8 and all their misadventures. Laugh along with us every Friday with 7 Quick Takes! #7quicktakes #7qt #real #lifewithkids #funny #unremarkablefiles

It's still true.

I literally took my kids to a castle and 4 out of 6 of them were complaining about how bored they were in the first five minutes.

Have you read 7 Quick Takes? It's the hilarious weekly recap of the Unremarkable Files family of 8 and all their misadventures. Laugh along with us every Friday with 7 Quick Takes! #7quicktakes #7qt #real #lifewithkids #funny #unremarkablefiles
Ohmigosh... SOOOOO boring.

We couldn't go inside (hence the kids' disappointment) but it was cool to walk around the outside and after their whining fell on deaf ears, the kids did eventually find ways to entertain themselves.

They played hand-clapping games, read in the grass, or, in the case of my younger kids, got interested in some caterpillars they found on the ground.

My 7-year-old put one in an empty jar from the car and wanted to take it home, so being the fantastic mom that I am, we used my phone to investigate caterpillar identification on the Internet and found that it ate milkweed.

Being the awesome mom that I am who embraces hands-on learning opportunities, I looked up pictures of milkweed, gave the phone to my daughter, and sent her off to find some milkweed leaves with the warning, "Just stay away from poison ivy!"

She came back a few minutes later WITH A HANDFUL OF POISON IVY AND GAVE IT TO ME.

For those of you who don't know, my body hates poison ivy. Just being near it is enough to cause me 6 weeks of sheer misery. And it's everywhere in New England.

That made a quick end to our visit. We immediately went home so I could burn my hands (just kidding, never burn poison ivy!) and the kicker is, I discovered later that I'd been looking at the wrong paragraph of the caterpillar identification article.

Not only was the caterpillar an invasive species you shouldn't ever feed or raise, it doesn't even eat milkweed.

Womp, womp.

Click to Share:
Unremarkable Files


Ann-Marie Ulczynski said...

We just started the Rebecca makes dinner once a week, and Kathryn makes lunch once a week. We’re still in the “it actually takes longer and more patience” stage. But, I know that we will get to the point where they will do it by themselves. Oh happy day for you.,

Jenny Evans said...

Ann-Marie, it will be SO worth it one day!

Rachel said...

You and poison ivy, man, you just can't stay away!

Some of my youngest sisters have largely been under the impression that my mom doesn't know how to cook. As oldest, I happen to know that mom can indeed cook and was the instigator in teaching us all and getting us started, but she hasn't regularly cooked in probably about 15 years at this point, so my youngest sisters' misconception is valid. At this point, my 16 year old sister does just about 100% of the cooking for my parents' family, which is no small task as they often have approximately 4 extra little mouths to feed at most meals. Cooking was just one of the tasks it was easier for mom to pass on to the teens back then--she started working and traveling for work in my teens, but we were home and around to cook for the family. This is why when I got married and started cooking for Angel and I 1) it was really easy and there were none of those stories of "new wife who doesn't know how to cook" and 2) the meals I made often had a lot of leftovers. Which worked because Angel loves leftovers.

Kimberly said...

I actually like cooking dinner, but I don't like making lunch. And for some reason, I hate, despise, and loathe PLANNING lunch.

So during summer vacation, I have each of my kids choose what we'll have for lunch one day each week, and we're all a lot happier.

Someday, I'll climb over Mt. Inertia and require them to actually PREPARE lunch. That will be a great day indeed, and will provide them lots of good life experience, but it's probably not going to happen this year because we're getting ready to move. One Herculean task per summer is about all I can manage.

Angie said...

I greatly enjoy your parenting memes!
Madilynn does this thing with "be" verbs (It bes good), and even though I am a word person, it's sometimes hard to correct her. It's even harder when she says "Pick up it" because she is not ending the sentence with a preposition even though it's not the normal thing we say.
Dietrich cooks tacos every Tuesday.

PurpleSlob said...

I am sure Stephen King will contact you right away!! That sure enough is a scary grown up dream!!
Yay for having the kids do meals!! Best way to get you off the hook, I mean prepare them for the future!
I love kids speak too.
Maybe you can start wearing a haz mat suit when you go outdoors??