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Category Archives: Food

Never brag on the firstborn. It will bite you with the second.

Me:  Girls, what would you like for breakfast?

Norah:  Plain green peas, steamed broccoli, and do we have any cauliflower?  Oh, mama, can I please, please, please, have an orange??

Me:  Of course!  Cedar, what would you like?

Cedar:  Nandy.

Me:  We don’t eat candy for breakfast.  I’ll make you a cheesy egg.

Cedar (screaming, snorting, stomping, and maybe spitting):  Nandy!  Nandy!  Nandy!

Why are children so different?

The weird one at the homeschool co-op

I have often felt out of place in our homeschool co-op. Like the one time a bunch of the moms were standing around talking and it came out that I was the only one who had gone to public school. (P.S. I loved public school and I’m thankful my mama didn’t homeschool me.)  I tried to blend.  I didn’t even wear a single hippie skirt all year long!  But I noticed the blank stares when I asked certain questions. 

The event was Field Day. Here are the top three ways I felt weird.

1) The kids did a relay race involving a plastic spoon and a cheese ball. *Sidenote: the kids were warned not to RUN with the spoon. I chuckled over that one and considered sending it in to Free-Range Kids.  But that isn’t what I’m blogging.  At the end of the race the kids were allowed to eat their cheese ball (as long as it hadn’t fallen on the ground…again, chuckle).  Norah had never tasted a cheese ball.  I know, I’m an awful mom.  She crinkles her nose, smells it, touches it with her tongue.  Then gleefully eats it.  And she begins loudly gushing to everyone within earshot, “I’ve never HAD a cheese ball.  Mama, have you ever had a cheese ball?  Oh it is so good!”  Seriously, she hasn’t stopped talking about this glorious experience. 

Perhaps I should have a food tasting day in the privacy of our home.  She’ll taste her first poptart, moonpie, dr. pepper, fruity pebbles, grape crush, easy cheese, frozen chicken nuggets, spaghetti o’s.  Don’t get me wrong, she’s had plenty of junk food.  I just see now that there are missing elements to her repertoire.

2)  Then we had lunch.  I let Norah pack her box.  She chose green peas, half a cheese/lettuce sandwich, a carrot, and edamame.  Almost every other family ordered Papa John’s.  Can you say “sore thumb?”

3) The Grand Finale:  the ice cream truck arrived.  More than a few moms glance at me with concern or ask “Are you going to let her get ice cream?”  Of course I am!  She chose a cotton candy twirl popsicle.  Then announced to the whole group, “I’ve never gotten ice cream from an ice cream truck before!”  Ok, that is simply not true.  Rascal!

I loved the event.  And I’m thankful to the moms who organized it.  Norah and Cedar had a great time.  Norah loves her friends there.  And so do I.  I’m proud of Norah for making healthy choices (she even does it when I’m not around).  Homeschool is so new to me and I’m overly observant–mostly of myself.  I also see that I don’t neatly fit into a group.  

But then again, when does one neatly fit into any group?

Easter Traffic

Two of my old posts always get loads of traffic around Easter:

Natural dyes for eggs


Cadbury Eggs

Update:  it looks like Cadbury Eggs in the US are still slave-made.  What can we do??  Global Exchange has some great ideas including a printable coloring page for children to mail to Hershey.  I’m considering throwing together a screening of The Dark Side of Chocolate to share in my community before Easter.  We’ll see if I can pull that off.  What will YOU do?

The Birthday Cake

Norah began describing her birthday cake about two months before her birthday.  She was extraordinarily specific about what she wanted.  She drew a picture and posted it on the fridge.  Usually I make her cake but I was intimidated by this project.   And frankly, I didn’t understand her description. 

So we went to the bakery.  I thought she would be wooed by other cakes.  Or, maybe she would see one she liked.  I was wrong.  As we wandered from cake to cake, a baker approached us and asked what the problem was.  I explained.  This wonderful woman was all seriousness as she sat down with Norah to design her cake.  Neither of them smiled.  Norah answered each question with decisiveness and firm opinion.  Who is this child? 

I was nervous when I picked up the cake.  Upon showing it to Norah, she nodded briskly and declared it “perfect.”  Scott and I high-fived. 

Here she is holding the picture she drew of her cake. 


We had a small family party this year.  Just as the guests were arriving, she bolted to her room, locked the door, and re-emerged wearing the shiny ensemble you see here.  Complete with ruby red slippers.

She’s growing up so big.

Why wasn’t I told?

Why wasn’t I told that convincing a small human to eat requires enormous creativity?

I am a consummate constructor of food monsters.  For some reason, known only to a toddler or preschooler, anything shaped into a monster may be eaten.  Boiled egg?  Boring!  Egg monsters?  Delicious. 

(she ate most of the egg monsters before I could take a picture)

Foods named eggs and toast?  Yesterday’s news.  Foods named “eggs in a nest?”  Something new!

Food presented on a plate?  Blah…push it around with a fork.  Food presented in an egg carton, altoid box, cupcake liner, cookie cutter, or any odd container?  Gobble it up.

The egg carton is Norah’s favorite lunchbox. 

Need some ideas for a picky little one?  I take lots of ideas from bento box themes.  Check out laptop lunch’s ideas.  I also like their photo gallery

Of course, for those truly artistic souls, aspire to true bento genius.


I mostly don’t feed Cedar.  She feeds herself.  And does a bang-up job of it. 

I’m a big believer in starting solids by sharing what you’re eating.  With Norah, we never bought baby food.  Jar food seemed wasteful in packaging and unappetizing.  We mashed up sweet potatoes, pureed peas, ground cereals. 

Then I learned about baby-led weaning.  It goes like this:  The gag reflex in a baby is near the front of the mouth.  When you spoon-feed, you bypass this protective gag reflex.  When baby feeds herself, the gag reflex offers a safety mechanism.  It also gradually moves farther back in the mouth as she matures. 

So this time around, I started with finger foods.  Very soft foods like bananas, avocados, small pieces of sweet potato.  And she mastered them quickly. 

Of course, I still use a spoon sometimes.  Namely with yogurt and at restaurants.  But Cedar is practicing now with a spoon and learning to do it herself.  And even without teeth, she eats small chunks of chicken and turkey, roasted beets, and rice crackers.

It makes sense to me.  It has worked well for Cedar.  And we’ve only had a few minor choking moments, usually on bits of bread.

I love watching babies explore textures and spices.  Cedar loves lemons, pickles, cinnamon, and spicy beans and rice. 

One thing, though.  Baby-led weaning is messy.  Oh yes indeed.

Win / Fail

Win:  Cadbury’s bestseller, the Dairy Milk Bar, is now fairly traded.  The packaged cocoa is also certified fair trade.  This change means the cocoa beans were not picked using slave labor.  This change means that very small children were not exposed to pesticides or forced to perform dangerous tasks.  This change means that workers received a fair wage.

Fail:  Everything else made by Cadbury is not fairly traded.  Yes, that includes the famous egg.

Remember my post asking why we can have dolphin-safe tuna but we can’t have slave-free chocolate?  Learn more about slave-free products and stay mindful as you prepare Easter goodies.