Friday, February 4, 2011

Marvelous Menu...Kid Chaos.

I'm not really much of a cook, but I have befriended two amazing cooks who are teaching me the wonder of flavors and textures and all the goodness that can come from a kitchen.
One has a wonderful blog of her own -- chock full of yummy recipes -- and it has made my life a little easier because when I want to meal plan, I just go to her blog and cheat. (It's listed in the right column of this page - diary recipe addict - so you, too, can cheat.)
Sometimes I expect a bit too much of myself, however. Case in point: Wednesday.
I had aspirations of cooking up a storm. Dinner would be fantastic.
At 2:30pm, I am whipping up some 'quick' cookie bars to top off the meal I will soon prepare. But with a 3-year-old's activity level, even throwing those ingredients in a bowl - and note, I made them bars not cookies - because that's too time consuming! - is full of interruptions.
Things get crazier an hour later when my two oldest children arrive home from school.
Herein is where I develop a new-found respect for my foodie friends. They too have young children. And yet they cook glorious, gourmet meals virtually every night.
How is it possible to cook like that and still be a mom? Here's a peek into the two hour time span from 3:30-5:30 in my house on Wednesday:
Menu: Smokehouse chicken with potato bundles and steamed carrots. 
The recipes read like a dream. I'm salivating through the entire meal preparation process.
But the children are home from school, and as usual, are ravenous. But I prepared. I had their snacks ready and waiting on the table. However, it wasn't enough food for them so they're begging for more.
I have to stop the numerous food projects I have going at the moment and get them more snacks, but not the kind of snacks that will ruin their appetite for this divine meal I'm making.
My 1st grade son needs to paint 100 hearts on a t-shirt to wear the following day for the 100th day of school, so he's in the corner of the kitchen with heart-sponges and acrylic paint..and I cringe because his little brother insists upon hovering over him and I have visions of red paint handprints dotting all my walls if he gets too close.
Of course this is also the time we must start homework, so I'm reviewing spelling words, setting timers for reading...
Meanwhile, my 3-year-old wants his Spiderman suit on. But he's potty training so we need to use the toilet before covering ourselves up in a full-body suit. This is never a short process.
The other two children are now crying for attention, wanting help with homework and begging to use the computer to do whatever it was they were doing at school on the computer today.
I say no to the computer. I get a tantrum.
I ignore it and go back to meal prep. Within minutes Spiderman proclaims, "I need to go poopy!" Another long process.
Successful toileting and he wants his candy reward. Done.
I go back to meal prep and two oldest children want to go outside to work on their fort. I let them go. It is frigid cold out there, but I want them OUT.
Soon they are bellowing from the door for me to put on boots and help them break up ice chunks outside so they can continue to shovel their cave. I run out quickly and fulfill their request only to be asked to finish their 'igloo.' Uh, nope. I have chicken on the stove, gotta go.
Tantrums ensue. Again, ignored.
I come inside and Spiderman wants to play cars. I sigh.
Then by the grace of God, I hear the garage door. Father arrives home. YES!
He plays cars with Spiderman while I finish getting food in the oven only to be interrupted by the sound of door slams and two children crying at me for being so cold that they need heat and blankets and how could I be so cruel to let them go outside in such frigid temperatures and why didn't I tell them to come in or not to go out because it is so cold?!?
I'm in the midst of chaos...
And then all those kids eat -
are the carrots.
Thursday night: Frozen pizza and mac & cheese.
I'm not even kidding. I admit defeat.


  1. Oh, Maxine! Don't admit defeat! Never! We all have evenings like that. It will be much easier when you aren't potty training!

    Also, much of what I make IS NOT gourmet;) My kids love mac and cheese too and sometimes I have to cater to that. Tonight, it is fend for yourself around here as a matter of fact. I am busy cleaning up a storm for all of the 2nd granders my son is having for his b-day sleepover tomorrow. Not sure why...I'm sure it will be a disaster after they've been here for 10 minutes.

  2. I'm thinking maybe you shouldn't try to make a gourmet meal on a Wednesday night, which is busy to begin with for your family. Keep it simple on that night, and try your meal on another night. Hang in gets better (but busier) as they grow older!

  3. But Megan, my mac & cheese comes from a box. I know yours is homemade. And probably even - gasp - healthy! lol

    Mel, Wed is actually our "slow" night if you can believe it!!! Every other night I have to have someone somewhere by 6pm!